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Thermochemical Processing of Biomass: Conversion into Fuels, Chemicals and Power

Thermochemical Processing of Biomass: Conversion into Fuels, Chemicals and Power

Robert C. Brown (Editor), Christian Stevens (Series Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-99084-0 March 2011 348 Pages


Thermochemical pathways for biomass conversion offer opportunities for rapid and efficient processing of diverse feedstocks into fuels, chemicals and power. Thermochemical processing has several advantages relative to biochemical processing, including greater feedstock flexibility, conversion of both carbohydrate and lignin into products, faster reaction rates, and the ability to produce a diverse selection of fuels.

Thermochemical Processing of Biomass examines the large number of possible pathways for converting biomass into fuels, chemicals and power through the use of heat and catalysts. The book presents a practical overview of the latest research in this rapidly developing field, highlighting the fundamental chemistry, technical applications and operating costs associated with thermochemical conversion strategies.

Bridging the gap between research and practical application, this book is written for engineering professionals in the biofuels industry, as well as academic researchers working in bioenergy, bioprocessing technology and chemical engineering.

Topics covered include:

  • Combustion
  • Gasification
  • Fast Pyrolysis
  • Hydrothermal Processing
  • Upgrading Syngas and Bio-oil
  • Catalytic Conversion of Sugars to Fuels
  • Hybrid Thermochemical/Biochemical Processing
  • Economics of Thermochemical Conversion

For more information on the Wiley Series in Renewable Resources, visit

Series Preface.


List of Contributors.

1 Introduction to Thermochemical Processing of Biomass into Fuels, Chemicals and Power (Robert C. Brown).

1.1 Introduction.

1.2 Direct Combustion.

1.3 Gasification.

1.4 Fast Pyrolysis.

1.5 Hydrothermal Processing.

1.6 Hydrolysis to Sugars.

1.7 Technoeconomic Analysis.


2 Biomasss Combustion (Bryan M. Jenkins, Larry L. Baxter and Jaap Koppejan).

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Combustion Systems.

2.3 Fundamentals of Biomass Combustion.

2.4 Pollutant Emissions and Environmental Impacts.


3 Gasification (Richard L. Bain and Karl Broer).

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Fundamentals of Gasification.

3.3 Feed Properties.

3.4 Classifying Gasifiers According to Method of Heating.

3.5 Classifying Gasifiers According to Transport Processes.

3.6 Pressurized Gasification.

3.7 Product Composition.

3.8 System Applications.


4 Syngas Cleanup, Conditioning, and Utilization (David C. Dayton, Brian Turk and Raghubir Gupta).

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 Syngas Cleanup and Conditioning.

4.3 Syngas Utilization.

4.4 Practical Applications and Industrial Practices.


5 Fast Pyrolysis (Robbie Venderbosch and Wolter Prins).

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Bio-Oil Properties.

5.3 Fast Pyrolysis Process Technologies.

5.4 Bio-Oil Fuel Applications.

5.5 Chemicals from Bio-Oil.

5.6 Concluding Remarks.



6 Upgrading Fast Pyrolysis Liquids (Anthony Bridgwater).

6.1 Introduction to Fast Pyrolysis and Bio-Oil.

6.2 Liquid Characteristics and Quality.

6.3 Significant Factors Affecting Characteristics.

6.4 Norms and Standards.

6.5 Bio-Oil Upgrading.

6.6 Chemical and catalytic Upgrading of Bio-oil. 

6.7 Conclusions.


7 Hydrothermal Processing (Douglas C. Elliott).

7.1 Introdcution.

7.2 Background.

7.3 Fundamentals.

7.4 Hydrothermal Liquefaction.

7.5 Hydrothermal Gasification.

7.6 Pumping Biomass into Hydrothermal Processing Systems.

7.7 Conclusions of Hydrothermal Processing.


8 Catalytic Conversion of Sugars to Fuels (Geoffrey A. Tompsett, Ning Li and George W. Huber).

8.1 Introduction.

8.2 Chemistry of Sugars.

8.3 Hydrogen from Sugars.

8.4 Sugar to Light Alkanes.

8.5 Sugars to Oxygenates.

8.6 Sugars to Larger Alkanes.

8.7 Sugar Conversion to Aromatics.

8.8 Conclusions and Summary.



9 Hybrid Processing (DongWon Choi, Alan A. DiSpirito, David C. Chipman and Robert C. Brown).

9.1 Introduction.

9.2 Syngas Fermentation.

9.3 Bio-Oil Fermentation.


10 Cost of Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass to Power and Liquid Fuels (Mark M. Wright and Robert C. Brown).

10.1 Introduction.

10.2 Electric Power Generation.

10.3 Liquid Fuels via Gasification.

10.4 Liquid Fuels via Fast Pyrolysis.

Summary and Conclusions.