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Title: New applications of X-ray tomography in pyrolysis of biomass: Biochar imaging

We report on the first ever use of non-destructive micrometer-scale synchrotron-computed microtomography (CMT) for biochar material characterization as a function of pyrolysis temperature. This innovative approach demonstrated an increase in micron-sized marcropore fraction of the Cotton Hull (CH) sample, resulting in up to 29% sample porosity. We have also found that initial porosity development occurred at low temperatures (below 350°C) of pyrolysis, consistent with chemical composition of CH. This innovative technique can be highly complementary to traditional BET measurements, considering that Barrett–Joyner–Halenda (BJH) analysis of pore size distribution cannot detect these macropores. Such information can be of substantial relevance to environmental applications, given that water retention by biochars added to soils is controlled by macropore characteristic among the other factors. In addition, complementing our data with SEM, EDX, and XRF characterization techniques allowed us to develop a better understanding of evolution of biochar properties during its production, such presence of metals and initial morphological features of biochar before pyrolysis. These results have significant implications for using biochar as a soil additive and for clarifying the mechanisms of biofuel production by pyrolysis.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [2]
  1. State Univ. of New York, Stony Brook, NY (United States); Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  2. State Univ. of New York, Stony Brook, NY (United States)
  3. USDA-ARS Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, LA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0887-0624; R&D Project: 02155/02158; YN0100000
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy and Fuels
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 29; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0887-0624
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES biochar; biofuel; pyrolysis; microtomography; porosity