A Molecular View of Pyrolysis of Complex Fuels in a Hot Micro-reactor


Climate Change and the world’s energy crisis are inextricably linked. Because of this connection, the world must find replacements for roughly 90% of all the energy we now depend on. Biomass from vegetation is the only renewable source of carbon-based transportation fuels and chemicals for manufacturing. To understand the thermal decomposition mechanisms of biomass, we are developing a tiny furnace to study the thermal cracking of complex organic molecules. We use a heated 0.5 mm x 2 cm SiC microtubular reactor to decompose biomass monomers such as aldehydes, ketones, and alkylaryl ethers. Thermal decomposition of 0.01 % samples mixed with He or Ar carrier gases takes place at pressures of 75-250 Torr and at temperatures up to 1700 K. Residence time of the organics in the reactor is roughly 50-200 µsec. The organic decomposition products are identified by three independent techniques: VUV photoionization mass spectroscopy (PIMS), resonance enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI), and infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy after isolation in a cryogenic matrix. Ab initio CCSD(T) electronic structure calculations have been carried out to guide our assignments.

Sep 27, 2016 3:30 PM — 4:30 PM
Bechtel Collaboratory, Discovery Learning Center
Engineering Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309

University of Colorado Boulder