2023 journal article
Green Needle Coke Production from Pyrolysis Biocrude toward Bio-based Anode Material Manufacture: Biochar Fines Addition Effect as ?Physical Template? on the Crystalline Order
ACS SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY & ENGINEERING, 11(18), 6944–6955.
A new method for producing green needle coke (GNC) is developed by replacing the “heavy fraction” of petroleum pitch delayed coking with fast pyrolysis biocrude. A series of alternative biocrude distillation, carbonization, and calcination conditions were investigated to determine the influence of these processing parameters onto the crystalline structure of the resulting graphitized material. For the first time, the addition of biochar fines was found to serve as a “physical template” to increase the graphitic nature of the final product. During the initial biocrude carbonization (350–450 °C), volatile compounds are released, and aromatics in pyrolysis biocrude experience condensation, resulting in GNC solids with carbon contents above 95 wt % and some early lamellar structure. In the second stage of the thermal process (25–1500 °C), there are additional thermal decomposition reactions with an increase in the aromatic nature of the graphitized solid. It was found that systematic addition of biochar fines induces a nucleating effect during the GNC development. Thermogravimetric analysis suggests that biochar fines promote polycondensation reactions by modifying the biopitch structure and molecular weight, while elemental analysis (CHN) shows a reduction in both H/C and O/C ratios which are consistent with the increase in aromaticity and removal of oxygenated compounds as thermal treatment evolves. The effects of different bio-based pitch materials (after distillation) and GNC intermediates were evaluated by pyrolysis-gas chromatography mass spectrometry and Fourier transform infrared, displaying slight changes on product yields and quality. X-ray diffraction patterns taken after graphitization evidence an increase in the graphitic order with the addition of biochar fines. Transmittance electron microscopy depicts an improvement on graphitic morphology as biochar fine content increases. The use of biochar fines showed a significant increase in graphitic ordering at addition levels above 0.01 wt %. These results show that thermally treated biocrude/biochar fine systems can produce graphitic structures (hard carbon-like) that might be suitable for the manufacture of sodium-ion batteries.