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Thermochemical conversion of biomass: Potential future prospects

Wang, Yuzhuo; Wu, Jun Jie

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Yuzhuo Wang
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy


The thermochemical conversion of biomass is potentially vital to meeting global demand for sustainable transport fuels so besides combustion; torrefaction, liquefaction, pyrolysis and gasification are reviewed. The merits and demerits of these processes and examples of industrial applications are evaluated, and two promising avenues for future development are identified. The future of biomass upgrading via thermochemical processing will depend on sector coupling, both within the energy sector and with sectors such as food production. Owing to environmental constraints and the need to maintain food production, the availability of traditional feedstocks for biofuels, such as corn, will be limited in the future. Now given the ambitious targets for sustainable aviation fuel – a higher quality fuel – reserving appropriate feedstocks for aviation fuel will be necessary. Such a policy would open opportunities for the commercial development of the sustainable production of such liquid fuels via liquefaction and pyrolysis. The second avenue of opportunity links to the fact that biomass in the form of wooden pellets has established itself as an essential fuel. In the UK and elsewhere, it is already contributing to the decarbonisation of the electricity grids. So worldwide, a positive future for biomass combustion, aided where appropriate by torrefaction, is envisaged as increasingly crucial for the abatement of greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside battery storage and pumped hydroelectric storage, the contribution of biomass processes, such as torrefaction, to tackling the storage problem arising from the intermittent nature of wind and solar energy has been clarified for the first time.


Wang, Y., & Wu, J. J. (2023). Thermochemical conversion of biomass: Potential future prospects. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 187, 113754.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 12, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 23, 2023
Publication Date 2023-11
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2023
Journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Print ISSN 1364-0321
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 187
Pages 113754
Keywords Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
Public URL


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