Reactive boiling of microcrystalline cellulose on high-temperature inorganic surfaces for millisecond processes

2010 Spring Symposium

Paul J. Dauenhauer
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Abstract – Particles of microcrystalline cellulose approximately 300 µm in diameter thermally decompose on high temperature (700 °C) inorganic surfaces coated with Rh-based reforming catalyst to an intermediate liquid. The intermediate liquid maintains contact with the surface permitting high heat transfer which results in an internal thermal gradient within the particle. Conversion from solid to liquid occurs along the internal thermal gradient finally resulting in a fully liquid droplet which completely boils to vapors.

Speaker’s Biography – Paul Dauenhauer is an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research currently examines the chemistry of biomass pyrolysis in the presence of reforming and combustion catalysts. He was formerly a Senior Research Engineer with the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI, and Freeport, TX, as part of both Core R&D – Reaction Engineering and Chemistry and Catalysis, as well as the Hydrocarbons and Energy R&D division. He was the co-inventor of the process Reactive Flash Volatilization for the conversion of biomass to synthesis gas at millisecond residence times, and he currently is a co-author of four patent applications related to catalytic biomass processing. Former employment included Cargill, Inc. at Gainesville, GA, as part of the Grain & Oilseeds Division as well as Wahpeton, ND, as part of the Sweeteners division for the wet milling of maize.