Removing CO2 from Bio-Fuels

Researchers in the Netherlands are leading the way in removing CO2 from bio-fuels, and using our Microlink data acquisition system to help them.

Climate change and growing concern about fluctuating oil prices are leading to increasing interest in using plants to produce liquid fuels and chemicals. Fast pyrolysis is often used to produce bio-fuel - rapidly heating the plant biomass in the absence of oxygen. The vapours formed are condensed to obtain the liquid product.

The problem with the process is that the fuel yielded contains CO2 and unstable oxygen compounds. One solution involves adding a catalyst to the process, and the researchers are investigating dolomite (magnesium calcium carbonate) as such a catalyst.

The researchers placed dried samples of beechwood into a reactor. This was contained within two verticlly stacked ovens. The Windmill Microlink 752-RTD monitored temperatures from K-type thermocouples within the ovens, reactor and gas outlet.

Temperature graph
Bed temperature profiles of differing ratios of biomass flow rate to the mass of dolomite. Credit: Prabhakara, Bramer, Brem CC BY 4.0

The Microlink 752-RTD measures temperature from resistance temperature devices, but with the addition of Microlink 594 isothermal box can also monitor thermocouples. Furthermore, it can switch digital outputs, monitor digital inputs, count events, control current or voltage outputs, monitor other voltage inputs and with extra equipment monitor strain gauge bridges. The Windmill software makes it very easy to switch between, or combine, uses.

Initially the scientists conducted a series of trials to optimise conditions. They then investigated the influence of dolomite in in-situ deoxygenation and CO2 capture. The results showed that dolomite allowed CO2-free and moderately deoxygenated bio-oil to be simultaneously produced.

Further Reading

Microlink 752-RTD: Resistance Temperature Measurement, Digital I/O, Counting and Analogue Output

Prabhakara, Bramer, Brem Role of dolomite as an in-situ CO2 sorbent and deoxygenation catalyst in fast pyrolysis of beechwood in a bench scale fluidized bed reactor, Fuel Processing Technology, Volume 224, 2021, 107029,