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Adsorption of furfural from torrefaction condensate using torrefied biomass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-568
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Torrefaction is a biomass energy densification process that generates a major byproduct in the form of torrefaction condensate. Microbial conversion of torrefaction condensate could be an attractive option for energy integration within torrefaction process. However, torrefaction condensate contains several compounds, such as furfural, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and guaiacol that are inhibitory to microbes. In this study, for the first time, we reported detoxification of torrefaction condensate, by removing the major inhibitory compound furfural, using torrefied biomass and later used the detoxified torrefaction condensate for anaerobic digestion. The effect of varying torrefaction temperature (225–300 °C), torrefied biomass dosage (25–250 g/L), initial pH (2.0–9.0), and contact time (1–12 h) on furfural adsorption was studied with batch adsorption experiments. The furfural adsorption on torrefied biomass was best represented by pseudo second order kinetic model. The adsorption of furfural and other inhibitory compounds on torrefied biomass was likely a hydrophobic interaction. A maximum of 60% of furfural was adsorbed from torrefaction condensate containing 9000 mg furfural/L using 250 g/L of torrefied biomass in batch adsorption. For, column (20 mm internal diameter and 200 mm bed height), the saturation time for furfural adsorption was around 50 min. Anaerobic digestion of the detoxified torrefaction condensate shows that the lag phase in methane production was reduced from 25 d to 15 d for 0.2 volatile solid (VS)substrate:VSinoculum loading. The study shows that torrefaction condensate can be effectively detoxified using torrefied biomass for microbial conversion and can be integrated within the torrefied biomass pellet production process.


  • Anaerobic digestion, Detoxification, Energy densification, Pellets, Torrefaction volatiles

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland