Transforming corn stover to useful transport fuel blends in resource-limited settings

Nicholas Munu, Noble Banadda, Nicholas Kiggundu, Ahamada Zziwa, Isa Kabenge, Jeffrey Seay, Robert Kambugu, Joshua Wanyama, Albrecht Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Development of local technologies is crucial to the sustainable energy agenda in resource-limited countries and the world. Strengthening local green technologies and promoting local utilization will reduce carbon emissions that could be generated during transportation and delivery of green products from one country to another. In this paper we developed bio-oil/diesel blends using a low-tech pyrolysis system designed for smallholder farmers in developing countries and tested their appropriateness for diesel engines using standard ASTM methods. Corn stover retrieved from smallholder farmers in Gayaza, Uganda were pyrolyzed in a batch rocket stove reactor at 350 °C and liquid bio-oil harvested. Bio-oil chemical composition was analyzed by Gas Chromatography equipped with Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID). Bio-oil/diesel emulsions in ternary concentrations 5%, 10% and 20% bio-oil weight were developed with 1% concentration of sorbitan monolaurate as an emulsifier. The bio-oil/diesel emulsions and distillates had property ranges: specific gravities at 15 °C 827.4–830.7 kg m−3, specific gravities at 20 °C 823.9–827.2 kg m −3, kinematic viscosities at 40 °C 3.01–3.22 mm2/s, initial boiling points 140–160 °C, final boiling points 354–368 °C, and calculated cetane indexes 56.80–57.63. These properties of the bio-oil/diesel blends and their distillates compare well with standard transportation diesel fuel. The emulsion distillates meet the standard requirements for automotive diesel in East Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1256-1266
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Reports
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Bio-oil
  • Corn stover
  • Diesel
  • Emulsion
  • Fuel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy


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