Theses and Dissertations


Xiaodan Shi

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Yu, Fei

Committee Member

Srinivasn, Radhakrishan

Committee Member

Liao, Jun

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biomedical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


The objectives of this research were to develop the best methods for cellulose nanowhiskers (CNWs) preparation from raw biomass materials and the feasibility to perform CNWs as Fe3+ catalyst support in converting syngas to biofuels. Raw kenaf bast and switchgrass were initially pretreated with dilute NaOH followed by dilute H2SO4. High yields of alpha-cellulose were obtained. Hemicellulose, ash, and most lignin were removed during pretreatment. Preparation of CNWs after pretreatment was then conducted via H2SO4 hydrolysis. The most efficient hydrolysis condition was determined as H2SO4 concentration through orthogonal experiments. In contrast with pure cellulose fibers, CNWs supported Fe3+ catalyst applied in converting syngas to biofuels showed shorter stabilization time and higher C4+ product selectivity. With the increase of reaction temperature to 310°C, CO and H2 could reach their peak conversion rates of 83.4% and 72.1%, while the maximum selectivity of CO2 was 41.1%.