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Multi-scale characterisation of chars mineral species for tar cracking

Abstract : Syngas from thermochemical conversion of waste or biomass is a renewable energy carrier that may contain pollutants – such as tar – that should be removed before further syngas utilisation. Chars have proved to be promising catalysts for tar cracking, but the influence of the physico-chemical properties on their reactivity is still unclear. This work aimed to better understand the structure and the composition of the mineral species of pyrolysis char, as well as their catalytic role in tar cracking. For this purpose, a characterisation of the minerals has been performed at bulk, surface (studied at micro and nano-scale) and crystallite scale. Pyrolysis chars were produced from wastes generated on cruise ships – namely used wood pallets (UWP), food waste (FW) and coagulation flocculation sludge (CFS) – having different mineral amount and content. Ethylbenzene was used as surrogate of light aromatic hydrocarbons in a tar cracking process. The results showed that ethylbenzene was converted into lighter gases meaning that the chars were efficient for this. Ethylbenzene conversion at 650 °C was found to be significantly higher with the char from a mixture of sludge and food waste (c.FW/CFS) compared to that of wood-based char (c.UWP): 71 wt.% against 45 wt.%, respectively. The combination of multi-scale and complementary techniques has highlighted that the higher catalytic activity of this char was mainly attributed to the mineral content. Well dispersed mineral particles with various morphologies and natures were observed on the surface of c.FW/CFS using Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy (SEM and TEM). Especially, Ca, Al and P were the main mineral species identified using XRFS and SEM. These mineral species in form of oxides and hydroxyapatite were considered to be the main active mineral components for tar cracking. Oxides were identified using EDX-analysis. XRD analysis highlighted the presence of crystalised particles of hydroxyapatite (Ca5(PO4)3(OH)), while Raman spectroscopy revealed that these particles were embedded in the carbon matrix.
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Maxime Hervy, Sarah Berhanu, Elsa Weiss-Hortala, Anthony Chesnaud, Claire Gerente, et al.. Multi-scale characterisation of chars mineral species for tar cracking. Fuel, Elsevier, 2017, 189, pp.88-97. ⟨10.1016/j.fuel.2016.10.089⟩. ⟨hal-01391562⟩

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