Hydrothermal liquefaction of kraft lignin in sub-critical water: the influence of the sodium and potassium fraction
Journal article, 2018
As a part of developing a hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) process to valorise lignin, it is important to consider integration possibilities with existing infrastructures in order to obtain an overall positive economic impact. One obvious example is to integrate the HTL process with the kraft pulp mill: transport and storage costs is reduced, the temperature levels on process streams can be matched (energy integration) and the recovery/use of alkali can be made efficient. In this study, softwood kraft lignin was depolymerised using sub-critical water (623 K; 25 MPa) in a continuous, small pilot unit with a flow rate of 2 kg/h. ZrO2, K2CO3/KOH and Na2CO3/NaOH were used as catalytic system, and phenol as the capping agent. The influence of the ratio between sodium and potassium in the feed on the yield and composition of the product stream was investigated. The results showed that bio-oil, water-soluble organics (WSO) and char yields were not remarkably influenced by shifting the catalytic system from potassium to sodium. Moreover, the yields of most phenolic compounds did not change significantly when the sodium fraction was varied in the feed. The amounts of suspended solids in the bio-oil produced showed, however, a diminishing trend, (decrease from 10.8 to 3.8%) when the sodium fraction was increased in the feed, whilst the opposite trend was observed for the heavy oil, which increased from 24.6 to 37.6%.
Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL)