Drastic changes in biomass char structure and reactivity upon contact with steam
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An Australian cane trash biomass was pyrolysed by heating at a slow heating rate to 700–900 °C in an inert gas atmosphere. The chars were then gasified in situ with steam. Our results indicate that the gasification of char with steam, even only for 20 s when the char conversion was minimal, resulted in drastic reduction in the intrinsic reactivity of char with air at 400 °C. The decreases in the char reactivity were not mainly due to the possible volatilisation of inherent catalysts during gasification in steam. Instead, the FT-Raman spectroscopy of the chars showed that the gasification of char with steam resulted in drastic changes in char structure including the transformation of smaller ring systems (3–5 fused rings) to large ring systems (>6 fused rings). It is believed that the intermediates of char–steam reactions, especially H, penetrated deep into the char matrix to induce the ring condensation reactions.
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