Thermochemical conversion of silkworm by-product into syngas

Jee Young KIM, Dohee KWON, Sungyup JUNG, Yiu Fai TSANG, Eilhann E. KWON

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This study explored the valorisation of silkworm by-product, a major by-product of the silk industry (sericulture), which amounts to 16 million tonnes annually. The focus was on transforming waste into energy resources through pyrolysis under CO2 conditions. In one-stage pyrolysis, the evolution of syngas under N2 was found to be comparable to that under CO2. A notable allocation of carbon to biocrude rather than syngas was observed. The two-stage pyrolysis resulted in increased syngas production. However, achieving a homogeneous reaction between CO2 and the volatiles liberated from silkworm byproduct proved challenging. Indeed, the reaction kinetics governing CO2 reactivity was not fast although the temperature windows of the reaction were aligned in the two-stage pyrolysis. To address this issue, pyrolysis was performed using a Ni-based catalyst to expedite the reaction kinetics. Consequently, syngas formation, particularly CO formation, was significantly enhanced under CO2 conditions compared to that under N2 conditions. The syngas yield under CO2 was 36.42 wt% which was 2-fold higher than that of N2. This suggested the potential of CO2 altering the carbon distribution from biocrude to syngas. This strategy would contribute to the establishment of sustainable production of silk by converting sericulture by-product into energy/chemical resources. Copyright © 2024 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130956
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Issue numberPart 1
Early online dateMar 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


Kim, J. Y., Kwon, D., Jung, S., Tsang, Y. F., & Kwon, E. E. (2024). Thermochemical conversion of silkworm by-product into syngas. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 265(Part 1), Article 130956.


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