CO2 adsorption on pyrolysis char from protein-containing livestock waste: How do proteins affect?

Noemí Gil-Lalaguna, África Navarro-Gil, Hans-Heinrich Carstensen, Joaquín Ruiz, Isabel Fonts, Jesús Ceamanos, María Benita Murillo, Gloria Gea. CO2 adsorption on pyrolysis char from protein-containing livestock waste: How do proteins affect? Science of the Total Environment 846 (2022) 157395

Biogas generation through anaerobic digestion provides an interesting opportunity to valorize some types of animal waste materials whose management is increasingly complicated by legal and environmental restrictions. To successfully expand anaerobic digestion in livestock areas, operational issues such as digestate management must be addressed in an economical and environmentally sustainable way. Biogas upgrading is another necessary stage before intending it to add-value applications. The high concentration of CO2 in biogas results in a reduced caloric value, so the removal of CO2 would be beneficial for most end-users. The current work evaluates the CO2 uptake properties (thermogravimetry study) of low-cost adsorbent materials produced fromthe animal wastes generated in the livestock area itself, specifically via pyrolysis of poorly biodegradable materials, such as meat and bone meal, and the digestate from manure anaerobic digestion. Therefore, the new element in this study with respect to other studies found in the literature related to biochar-based CO2 adsorption performance is the presence of high content of pyrolyzed proteins in the adsorbent material. In this work, pyrolyzed chars from both meat and bone meal and co-digested manure have been proven to adsorb CO2 reversibly, and also the chars produced from their representative pure proteins (collagen and soybean protein), which were evaluated as model compounds for a better understanding of the individual performance of proteins. The ultra-microporosity developed in the protein chars during pyrolysis seems to be the main explanation for such CO2 uptake capacities, while neither the BET surface area nor N-functionalities on the char surface can properly explain the observed results. Although the CO2 adsorption capacities of these pristine chars (6–41.0 mg CO2/g char) are far away from data of commercially activated carbons (~80 mg CO2/g char), this application opens a new via to integrate and valorize these wastes in the circular economy of the primary sector.

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