Theses and Dissertations



Hassan, El Barbary

Committee Member

Mlsna, Todd

Committee Member

Street, Jason Tyler

Committee Member

Kim, Yunsang

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Embargo 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources (Sustainable Bioproducts)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Sustainable Bioproducts


This dissertation addresses the surging global demand for sustainable energy alternatives and biobased products, driven by population growth and the imperative to shift away from finite fossil fuels amidst climate change. The research centers on the catalytic upgrading of rice straw bio-oil, employing bimetallic magnetic nano-catalysts on rice straw-derived biochar to align with the imperative for environmentally conscious energy solutions. In the initial phase, the study systematically explores upgrading processes using varied alcohols, specifically ethanol, and butanol, under mild conditions to enhance bio-oil quality. The detailed evaluation of catalyst composition reveals a notable reduction in oxygen content, coupled with a significant increase in energy density and calorific value. The upgraded bio-oil not only exhibits heightened stability but also undergoes a substantial shift towards a more desirable hydrocarbon-rich composition. The second part of the research optimizes upgrading process parameters catalyst concentration, reaction holding time, and reaction temperature using Response Surface Methodology based on the Box-Behnken experimental design. This optimization refines the catalytic upgrading process, enhancing its efficiency and reliability. Beyond catalytic efficacy, the study considers the magnetic recovery of catalysts for potential reuse, emphasizing sustainability on a broader scale. Set against the backdrop of global energy challenges, this research significantly contributes to advancing the understanding of bimetallic magnetic nano-catalysts. The dissertation unfolds in two parts, with the first segment focusing on Catalytic Upgrading of Rice Straw Bio-Oil via Esterification in Supercritical Ethanol Over Bimetallic Catalyst (CuO-Fe3O4/AcB), involving the variation of Cu and Fe metals on Rice Straw Biochar without hydrogen gas. The exploration continues with the Upgrading of Rice Straw Bio-Oil in Butanol and hydrogen gas Over a Sustainable Magnetic Bimetallic Nano-Catalyst (ZrO2-Fe3O4/AcB). The integrated analytical approach, utilizing XRD, SEM, FT-IR for synthesized catalysts, alongside GC-MS and the Bomb Calorimeter for bio-oil samples, establishes a nuanced understanding crucial for optimizing catalytic performance in sustainable biofuel production.

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025