TGA and BET characterization of spent oil shale as a catalyst in biomass tar removal applications

Author(s): Z. Abu El-Rub
German Jordanian University, Pharmaceutical and Chemical Engineering Department, P. O. Box 35247, 11180 Amman, Jordan
International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy, vol. 8, no. 6, November 2019: pp. 680-687
ISSN: 2315-4462 (Print)
ISSN: 2373-3594 (Online)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.12720/sgce.8.6.680-687

Abstract: Oil shale is an abundant-alternative source of energy in Jordan that is yet to be utilized in terms of energy content of the shale oil, and the applications of the spent oil shale. In order to find new applications, a characterization study was made for the spent oil shale to find out the potential of using this material as a catalyst for hot gas catalytic cleaning in biomass chemical conversion processes. The characterization focused mainly on finding industrial catalysts with comparable chemical composition, and the effect of mass loss at different heating rate on the resulted BET surface area and pore size. The chemical composition of the spent oil shale was done through XRF analysis and found comparable to limestones and dolomites, which are applied in industrial catalytic tar removal processes. The key-common components are the high CaO/MgO and iron. Further, the TGA analysis showed a significant and inversely proportional mass loss (20-39 wt.%) at the different heating rates of 10, 50 and 100 oC/min. The higher mass loss was accompanied by a higher surface area (4.44 m2/g) due to the expected smoother evolution of the pore structure when the volatile organic compounds escape from the solid particle. Although the resulted surface areas of the spent oil shale were relatively small due to the microporous nature of the pores, it still worth to be tested in a future work for catalytic tar removal due to its chemical composition and mechanical stability.

Keywords: Spent oil shale, TGA, BET, catalyst, tar
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