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Construction and Commissioning of a Continuous Reactor for Hydrothermal Liquefaction

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-06-10, 00:00 authored by Anders Juul Mørup, Jacob Becker, Per Sigaard Christensen, Kasper Houlberg, Elpiniki Lappa, Maika Klemmer, René Bjerregaard Madsen, Marianne Glasius, Bo Brummerstedt Iversen
The purpose of this paper is to give a comprehensive description of the construction and commissioning of a continuous reactor system for hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass. The basis is a newly established facility at Aarhus University. It is capable of handling viscous biomass slurries and features a novel induction-based heating method that facilitates well-defined reaction environments. Carbon balance closure is obtained as all product fractions are recovered and positively quantified. The paper includes a residence time distribution measurement and a 24 h proof-of-concept experiment conducted at 350 °C, 250 bar, and 15 min reaction time. It is based on the biomass dried distillers grains with solubles, a waste product of the bioethanol industry. The experiment seeks to determine the steady-state characteristics of the continuous reactor system for use in future experimental studies. It was found that steady state occurs within 6 h. Furthermore, data sampling windows of 2.1 h were found to mask the intrinsic variations of the system while still exposing trends. At steady state, the oil mass yield was found to be 38.9 ± 3.2% and the higher heating value was 35.3 ± 0.28 MJ kg–1.