Coal water slurry gasification is a main source of hydrogen in the developing hydrogen economy. Moreover, biomass and waste can be added, making gasification process greener. To expand the application of coal water slurry and gasification process, it is necessary to understand the micro-structure in this large particle suspension system. In this paper, the micro-structure in coal water slurry was studied by extended DLVO (eDLVO) theory and fractal dimension, which is used to explain the mechanism of stability in large particle suspension systems. The interaction between two coal particles was characterized from the interparticle potential and energy barrier based on the eDLVO theory. The rheology and stability between different types of coals are measured and explained by the aggregating structure and fractal dimension in coal water slurry. The results indicated that there would be an aggregating structure in high rank coals, due to the interparticle potential caused by the surface properties, but probably not in low rank coals. This aggregating structure can be described and characterized by fractal dimension. The aggregation of particles is the source of the stability for high rank coals, as the close-packed 3D network structure in large particle suspension can support coal particles from settling down. The results have demonstrated that the combination of the eDLVO theory and rheological measurement is an effective way to investigate the stability of large particle suspension systems.

Qiang LI ,   Qian WANG   et al.
Converting solar energy into hydrogen (H ) by photocatalytic water splitting is a promising approach to simultaneously address the increasing energy demand and environmental issues. Half decade has passed since the discovery of photo-induced water splitting phenomenon on TiO photoanode, while the solar to H efficiency is still around 1%, far below the least industrial requirement. Therefore, developing efficient photocatalyst with a high energy conversion efficiency is still one of the main tasks to be overcome. Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C N ) is just such an emerging and potential semiconductor. Therefore, in this review, the state-of-the-art advances in g-C N based photocatalysts for overall water splitting were summarized in three sections according to the strategies used, and future challenges and new directions were discussed.

Bing LUO ,   Yuxin ZHAO   et al.
Water transport is of paramount importance to the cold start of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Analysis of water transport in cathode catalyst layer (CCL) during cold start reveals the distinct characteristics from the normal temperature operation. This work studies the effect of CCL mesoscopic pore-morphology on PEMFC cold start. The CCL mesoscale morphology is characterized by two tortuosity factors of the ionomer network and pore structure, respectively. The simulation results demonstrate that the mesoscale morphology of CCL has a significant influence on the performance of PEMFC cold start. It was found that cold-starting of a cell with a CCL of less tortuous mesoscale morphology can succeed, whereas starting up a cell with a CCL of more tortuous mesoscale morphology may fail. The CCL of less tortuous pore structure reduces the water back diffusion resistance from the CCL to proton exchange membrane (PEM), thus enhancing the water storage in PEM, while reducing the tortuosity in ionomer network of CCL is found to enhance the water transport in and the water removal from CCL. For the sake of better cold start performance, novel preparation methods, which can create catalyst layers of larger size primary pores and less tortuous pore structure and ionomer network, are desirable.

Interest in lignocellulosic biomass conversion technologies has increased recently because of their potential to reduce the dependency on non-renewable feedstocks. Residues from a variety of crops are the major source of lignocellulose, which is being produced in increasingly large quantities worldwide. The commercial exploitation of crop residues as feedstocks for biorefineries which could be used to produce a variety of goods such as biofuels, biochemicals, bioplastics, and enzymes is an attractive approach not only for adding value to residues but also for providing renewable products required by the expanding bioeconomy market. Moreover, the implementation of biorefineries in different regions has the potential to add value to the specific crop residues produced in the region. In this review, several aspects of crop residue application in biorefineries are discussed, including the role of crop residues in the bioeconomy and circular economy concepts, the main technical aspects of crop residue conversion in biorefineries, the main crop residues generated in different regions of the world and their availability, the potential value-added bioproducts that can be extracted or produced from each crop residue, and the major advantages and challenges associated with crop residue utilization in biorefineries. Despite their potential, most biomass refining technologies are not sufficiently advanced or financially viable. Several technical obstacles, especially with regard to crop residue collection, handling, and pre-treatment, prevent the implementation of biorefineries on a commercial scale. Further research is needed to resolve these scale-up-related challenges. Increased governmental incentives and bioeconomic strategies are expected to boost the biorefinery market and the cost competitiveness of biorefinery products.

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