Performance of Structural Materials in Biomass Liquefaction Environments, 19PEERS
Liquid fuels including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel produced from biomass offer an alternative to fossil-derived fuels and provide a route to reduction of net carbon dioxide production. Thermochemical liquefaction is one of the routes being investigated, and there are a few facilities currently producing liquid fuels using the pyrolysis process. There are alternative processes also under development, but all these processes involve exposure of metallic structural materials at elevated temperature, and in some cases, elevated pressures. The chemical environments associated with these processes can be very aggressive toward structural materials. Examination of process system components after operation and in-situ exposures of alloy test samples have revealed that commonly used stainless steels like 304L and 316L are proving susceptible to relatively rapid scaling and internal (typically intergranular) attack that can extend up to a few grains deep after only ~50-500 hours of exposure time. Characterization by analytic electron microscopy shows that this attack can be associated with multiple mechanisms, including internal oxidation and internal sulfidation, along with alloy grain boundary Cr depletion. This paper presents an overview of the authors’ recent characterization efforts and in-progress studies to gain insight into the mechanism(s) and kinetics of internal attack in thermochemical liquefaction and related process environments.
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