Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2018

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemical Engineering


William J Desisto

Second Committee Member

Clayton Wheeler

Third Committee Member

Douglas W. Bousfield


A significant fraction of global energy demand is met through nonrenewable petroleum feedstock, which increases the risk of energy security. The energy production from nonrenewable petroleum feedstocks is one of the large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which can cause climate change impacts. The energy security can be improved, and the greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by deriving energy from domestically available renewable lignocellulosic feedstocks such as wood. Wood has three major components: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The cellulose is primarily used to produce pulp and paper. The hemicellulose is often utilized to produce a valueadded chemical like furfural. However, lignin is an underutilized component of wood, which is primarily used as a boiler fuel. The current economic value o f the lignin is very low as its application is greatly limited. The low economic value of lignin can also be limiting the commercialization of biorefineries to produce biofuels. has been conducted to valorize lignin via fast pyrolysis Significant research and catalytic pyrolysis to produce chemicals and fuels. However, problems such as feeding, low energy density of biooil due to a high oxygen content, irreversible deactivation of the catalyst due to the presence of ash are hindering the commercialization of these processes. In this study, we explore the possibility of overcoming these problems with the formate assisted pyrolysis (FAsP) of lignin. The FAsP involves pretreating lignin with two formate salts (calcium formate and magnesium fo rmate) before it is pyrolyzed in a reactor at a temperature of 500 °C. Two different mass concentrations formate salts salt per g of lignin. It wa we re considered: 0.5 g and 1 g of formate s observed that lignin feeding issues can be overcome by pretreating lignin with the formate salts of calcium and magnesium. The highest bio yield of pyrolysis of pretreated lignin with calcium and magnesium formate salts waoil s found to be 7% and 15.5 %, respectively. The O/C ratio of biooil wa s found to be 0.08 and 0.16 for the lignin pretreatment with calcium and magnesium formate salts, respectively. By CNMR it was detected that biooil has more than 75% aromatics.