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Journal of Energy
Volume 2013, Article ID 791582, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/791582
Research Article

Preparation and Characterization of Malaysian Dolomites as a Tar Cracking Catalyst in Biomass Gasification Process

1Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
2Department of Chemistry, Centre of Excellence for Catalysis Science and Technology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Received 18 December 2012; Accepted 29 April 2013

Academic Editor: Johan E. Hustad

Copyright © 2013 M. A. A. Mohammed et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Three types of local Malaysian dolomites were characterized to investigate their suitability for use as tar-cracking catalysts in the biomass gasification process. The dolomites were calcined to examine the effect of the calcination process on dolomite’s catalytic activity and properties. The modifications undergone by dolomites consequent to thermal treatment were investigated using various analytical methods. Thermogravimetric and differential thermal analyses indicated that the dolomites underwent two stages of decomposition during the calcination process. The X-ray diffraction and Fourier-transform infrared spectra analyses showed that thermal treatment of dolomite played a significant role in the disappearance of the CaMg(CO3)2 phase, producing the MgO-CaO form of dolomite. The scanning electron microscopy microphotographs of dolomite indicated that the morphological properties were profoundly affected by the calcination process, which led to the formation of a highly porous surface with small spherical particles. In addition, the calcination of dolomite led to the elimination of carbon dioxide and increases in the values of the specific surface area and average pore diameter, as indicated by surface area analysis. The results showed that calcined Malaysian dolomites have great potential to be applied as tar-cracking catalysts in the biomass gasification process based on their favorable physical properties.