(503d) Direct Fast Pyrolysis Bio-Oil Fuel Cell

Authors: 
Benipal, N., Iowa State University
Qi, J., Iowa State University
Johnston, P., Iowa State University
Gentile, J. C., Iowa State University
Brown, R. C., Iowa State University
Li, W., Iowa State University
Bio-oil derived from the pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass shows a great promise, however, needs further upgrading to potentially serve as an alternative to fossil fuels. Herein, we demonstrate that crude fast pyrolysis bio-oil can be directly used as a fuel for anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs) to generate high power density electrical energy at low temperature. Direct fast pyrolysis bio-oil AEMFCs with the Pd/CNT anode catalyst and a commercial Fe-based cathode catalyst exhibit a remarkable peak power density of 42.7 mW cm-2. Levoglucosan was identified as the major sugar compound with 11.1 wt% of the bio-oil composition, along with disaccharides, pyrolytic lignin, and oligomer of lignin-derived phenolic compounds. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) studies investigated the electrocatalytic oxidation of high purity levoglucosan over the four noble metal catalysts in half cell, as levoglucosan is the dominant sugar component in bio-oil. Pd/CNT, compared to other catalysts, displayed the highest activity and lowest onset potential of electrocatalytic oxidation of levoglucosan. AEMFC with high purity sugars shows ~ 1.2 to 3 times higher power density than that with fast pyrolysis bio-oil fuel.