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Energy-dense liquid fuel intermediates by pyrolysis of guayule (Parthenium argentatum) shrub and bagasse

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Guayule is a perennial shrub grown in the southwestern United States that is used to produce high quality, natural rubber latex. However, only about 10% of the plant material is used for latex production; the remaining biomass, called bagasse, can be used for renewable fuel production. Fast pyrolysis of guayule, both whole shrub and bagasse was performed. From both feedstocks a very viscous, high energy content (approximately 30 MJ/kg) pyrolysis liquid (bio-oil) was produced in yields averaging over 60% without any catalyst. The properties and compositions of the bio-oils were found to be similar in the two feedstocks. Co-products, charcoal (20-30 wt%) and non-condensable gas (5-15%), were also dense and had a high energy content. Of the two feedstocks, the whole shrub yielded higher quantities of charcoal that also had a higher energy content than the charcoal produced from bagasse. As a result, the energy recovery, estimated as the percentage of the energy products, to energy input into the reactor was lower (60%) for guayule bagasse than for the whole shrub (73%). This notwithstanding, the bagasse is a more attractive feedstock for thermochemical conversion, not only because it is a residue from a primary process (latex extraction) that is on-site, but also because it has a high energy content. Moreover, it produces high quality pyrolysis products. Co-production of latex rubber from the whole shrub and renewable fuels from the residual bagasse by pyrolysis should improve the already positive economics of the guayule latex rubber industry.
Boateng, Akwasi A. , Mullen, Charles A. , Goldberg, Neil M. , Hicks, Kevin B. , McMahan, Colleen M. , Whalen, Maureen C. , Cornish, Katrina
Includes references
Fuel 2009 Nov., v. 88, issue 11
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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