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Title: pH Neutralization of Aqueous Bio-Oil from Switchgrass Intermediate Pyrolysis Using Process Intensification Devices

Despite the potential carbon-neutrality of switchgrass bio-oil, its high acidity and diverse chemical composition limit its utilization. The objectives of this research are to investigate pH neutralization of bio-oil by adding various alkali solutions in a batch system and then perform neutralization using process intensification devices, including a static mixer and a centrifugal contactor. The results indicate that sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are more appropriate bases for pH neutralization of bio-oil than calcium hydroxide due to the limited solubility of calcium hydroxide in aqueous bio-oil. Mass and total acid number (TAN) balances were performed for both batch and continuous-flow systems. Upon pH neutralization of bio-oil, the TAN values of the system increased after accounting the addition of alkali solution. A bio-oil heating experiment showed that the heat generated during pH neutralization did not cause a significant increase in the acidity of bio-oil. The formation of phenolic compounds during neutralization was initially suspected of increasing the system’s overall TAN value because some of these compounds (e.g., vanillic acid) act as polyprotic acids and have a stronger influence on the TAN value than monoprotic acids (e.g., acetic acid). The amount of phenolics in separated bio-oil phases, however, did not change significantlymore » after pH neutralization. In conclusion, process intensification devices provided sufficient mixing and separation of the organic and aqueous phases, suggesting a scale-up route for the bio-oil pH neutralization process.« less
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  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy and Fuels
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 31; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 0887-0624
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: