Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering; Biorenewable Resources and Technology

First Advisor

Mark Mba-Wright


This study explored thermochemical and biochemical conversion processes for converting biomass to transportation fuels, and developed a pyrolysis-biochar-bioenergy platform to produce carbon negative energy. Multiple methodologies including process modeling, techno-economic analysis, life cycle analysis, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis were used to comprehensively evaluate the commercialization feasibility of fast pyrolysis technology.

This dissertation comprises four distinct topics organized by chapters based on journal manuscripts: 1) I proposed a fast pyrolysis and bio-oil stabilization pathway and compared the economic and environmental performance of producing only biofuel and producing both biofuel and mixed alcohols with different integrated levels; 2) I examined the impacts of different biomass properties on the pyrolysis-biochar-bioenergy platform from both an economic and environmental perspectives. 3) I compared the economic performance and uncertainties of combining solvent liquefaction and fermentation to produce ethanol using four different solvents. 4) A location-sensitive TEA and LCA model has been developed to include the influence of spatial deployment of fast pyrolysis technology. This study also provided extensive discussion about the pyrolysis-biochar-bioenergy platform’s potential to produce carbon negative energy. The analyses in this dissertation will help further our understanding of thermochemical and biochemical biomass conversion processes and their potential for enabling low-cost, clean, and sustainable bioenergy.

Copyright Owner

Wenqin Li



File Format


File Size

139 pages