The effect of wood composition and supercritical CO2 extraction on charcoal production in ferroalloy industries

February 15, 2020

Gerrit Ralf Surup (1), Andrew J. Hunt (2), Thomas Attard (3), Vitaliy L. Budarin (3), Fredrik Forsberg (4), Mehrdad Arshadi (5), Victor Abdelsayed (6,7), Dushyant Shekhawat (6), Anna Trubetskaya (8)
Energy, 193, February 2020. DOI: 10.1016/


biorefinery, pyrolysis, supercritical, sterols, solid fuels


This work demonstrates that the integration of supercritical carbon dioxide extraction with slow pyrolysis is an effective method for the production of value-added chemicals and charcoal that is an attractive alternative to coke for industry. Integration of technologies is key for the development of holistic biorefineries that exploit all parts of the biomass feedstock and generate little or ideally no waste. In fact, the use of waste or low valued wood fractions is attractive due to their plentiful abundance and lack of exploitation. Supercritical carbon dioxide has been demonstrated to be effective at the removal of over half of extractives from low quality wood and forestry wastes, which can account for up to 11 wt %, of the dried biomass in waste needles. High extractive yields by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction illustrates the potential of utilizing low quality wood as an alternative feedstock for the sustainable production of value-added chemicals. High yields of steroids and derivatives, terpenes and other plant metabolites were obtained in the extracts of needles, branches and bark. Importantly, supercritical carbon dioxide extraction had little impact neither on the physical properties of original wood nor on the yield of solid charcoal. This indicates that extraction by supercritical carbon dioxide can be used as a method for adding further value to the process by removal of bio-based chemicals, whilst still maintaining the yield of the solid fuel product. Moreover, the heat treatment temperature and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction had a significant impact on the tar yields during pyrolysis, leading to an increase in naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic and phenolic fractions with greater temperature. These results are promising as they show that the charcoal obtained from this renewable feedstock could be used as an alternative to fossil-based coke in applications including ferroalloy industries.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to carry out the 3D quantitative image analysis and visualizations of wood samples.

Author Affiliation

(1) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491, Trondheim, Norway.
(2) Materials Chemistry Research Center, Department of Chemistry and Center of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Khon KaenUniversity, 123 Mittraparb Road, 40002, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
(3) Department of Chemistry, The University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK.
(4) Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Luleå University of Technology, 97187, Luleå, Sweden.
(5) Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 90183, Umeå, Sweden.
(6) National Energy Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV, 26507, USA.
(7) AECOM, Morgantown, WV, 26507, USA.
(8) Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX, Limerick, Ireland.