Millisecond Reforming of Solid Biomass for Sustainable Fuels


  • This research was partially supported by grants from the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota, and the US Department of Energy. We acknowledge Professor Ulrike Tschirner for assistance and Scott Roberts for photography.


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Breaking the coke habit: By coupling thermal decomposition with catalytic partial oxidation, an effective method has been developed to convert solid biomass such as cellulose into synthesis gas (see photo of a hot Rh catalyst surface). Not only is the process fast (<70 ms), it also avoids the formation of coke, which is known to deactivate catalyst surface sites and block surface reactions.