Hydrothermal Carbonization and Chemical Activation of Corn-Bioethanol By-Products

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MacDermid-Watts, Kevin
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University of Guelph

Corn Wet Distillers' Fibre (Corn Fibre) and Corn Condensed Distillers' Solubles (CDS) were hydrothermally carbonized at various temperatures, and the solid and liquid products were characterized to identify possible avenues of valorization. The effects of adding FeCl3 catalyst to the reaction was also studied for the Corn Fibre. Finally, suitability of Corn Fibre and Corn Fibre hydrochars for activated carbon production was identified using KOH. The results indicate that Corn Fibre hydrochars show exceptional promise in typical combustion characteristics including HHV, ash content, hydrophobicity, and solid yields, as well as high thermal stability and porosity when activated. In particular, an HHV of 33.91 MJ/kg, ash content as low as 0.2%, and SSA of 1220m2/g were achieved. The hydrochars had abnormally high H/C ratios, and the HTC process water was found to contain HMF. CDS had substantially lower solid yields and thermal stability of hydrochars but had hydrocarbon rich process water.

Hydrothermal Carbonization, Biomass, Activated Carbon, Corn, Supercapacitor, Catalysts