In this study, we conducted catalytic hydropyrolysis experiments on beetle-killed trees such as Pine, Ash borer and Red bay. The experiments were performed using a micro-pyrolyzer-Py/GC-MS setup. This study focused on the hydropyrolysis of beetle-killed trees in the presence of various heterogeneous catalysts like HZSM5, NiMo-HZSM-5, and NiRe-HZSM-5. We investigated the effects of different process parameters such as temperature, catalyst-to-biomass ratio, and hydrogen partial pressure on product yield and selectivity with HZSM-5. Our findings suggest that across the three feedstocks, temperature, pressure, and catalyst-to-biomass ratio play crucial roles in producing aromatics essential for transportation biofuel. The influence of catalyst acidity on product yields was also reported in this work and we observed that increasing the acidity of the catalyst positively influences hydrocarbon yield, irrespective of the feedstocks. Additionally, we examined the effect of acidity on the aromatic distribution of the product, revealing a more yield of C7 and C8 carbon numbers with increasing acidity. NiMo-HZSM-5, and NiRe-HZSM-5 have the potential to produce hydrocarbons for transportation biofuel as a result of the synergistic effect of metals doped on HZSM-5. Although we hypothesized that Re is a better alternative compared to Mo-containing zeolites because of its higher catalytic performance and stability compared to Molybdenum, however, the results we obtained with NiRe-HZSM-5 showed otherwise as we obtained only a small yield of alkanes compared to NiMo-HZSM-5.

Date of publication

Fall 12-13-2023

Document Type

Thesis (Local Only Access)



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Fernando Resende, Aaditya Khanal, Mohammad Biswas


Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering