Dittami, James P.
Biomass has been shown to yield simpler organic gaseous and liquid compounds when broken down. Some of these compounds can be further processed into liquid biofuels such as ethanol. Ionic liquids have been shown to aid in the breakdown of biomass into these intermediate compounds. The purpose of this project was to determine whether molten salts, a cheaper alternative to ionic liquids, could also yield these intermediates when used with or without catalysts. During the course of this study, it was found that some combinations of molten salt eutectics and catalysts were very effective in the breakdown of biomass into furanic compounds. The low cost of the molten salts, therefore, promises processes based on them to be cost-effective for converting biomass into biofuels.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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Chemistry and Biochemistry