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Conversion of Cornstalk to Bio-oil in Hot-Compressed Water: Effects of Ultrasonic Pretreatment on the Yield and Chemical Composition of Bio-oil, Carbon Balance, and Energy Recovery

Shi, Wen, Gao, Yahui, Yang, Guohui, Zhao, Yaping
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2013 v.61 no.31 pp. 7574-7582
carbon, cellulose, chemical composition, energy balance, energy recovery, hemicellulose, liquefaction, phenols, physicochemical properties, temperature
An ultrasonic pretreatment method was developed to enhance the yield of bio-oil obtained from the liquefaction of cornstalks in hot-compressed water at different reaction temperatures (260–340 °C) and residence times (0–40 min). Influences of ultrasonic pretreatment on the physicochemical properties of cornstalks and bio-oil yields were investigated. The results show that ultrasonic pretreatment obviously increases surface areas of cornstalks, decreases crystallinities, and erodes the structures of lignin, leading to more exposure of cellulose and hemicellulose. The yield of bio-oil was increased remarkably by 10.1% for 40 min sonicated cornstalks under the optimum liquefied conditions (300 °C for 0 min of residence time). Carbon balance indicates that ultrasonic pretreatment increases the carbon conversion of cornstalks to heavy oil and water-soluble oil. Energy balance indicates that the sonicated cornstalks have positive energy efficiencies. GC-MS analyses demonstrate ultrasonic pretreatment increases the contents of the phenols in heavy oil and water-soluble oil.