Storage Stability of Bio-oils Derived from the Catalytic Conversion of Softwood Kraft Lignin in Subcritical Water
Journal article, 2016
The stability of lignin-derived bio-oil obtained from a continuous process [base (K2CO3)-catalyzed, using phenol as a capping agent] under subcritical conditions of water (25 MPa, 290-370 degrees C) was investigated. The lignin-derived bio-oil obtained was stored at ambient temperature for 2 years. Our results show that the base concentration in the feed solution affects the stability of this lignin-derived bio-oil during its long-term storage. It was found that, at low base concentrations (i.e., 0.4%-1.0%), the yields of all lignin-derived bio-oil fractions were relatively stable. At high base concentrations (i.e., 1.6%-2.2%), however, the yield of high-molecular-weight (high-Mw) structures increased and that of low-molecular-weight (low-Mw) structures decreased after storage. This indicated that the low-Mw materials had been polymerized to form high-Mw materials. In addition, it was found that the yield of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-identified compounds (excluding phenol) in this lignin-derived bio-oil decreased from 15% to 11%. This is probably due to the presence of solids in these lignin derived bio-oils, which promotes the catalytic polymerization reactions, suggesting that it is beneficial to remove the solids from this lignin-derived bio-oil in order to enhance its stability. Compared to the results obtained from bio-oil derived from biomass pyrolysis, our results show that bio-oil derived from the conversion of lignin in subcritical water has better chemical stability during long-term storage.