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

1 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

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the generous technical help provided by Emmanuelle Rollet-Labelle, Charles Joly Beauparlant, and Antoine Bodein throughout the study. The authors thank the Bioimagerie du Petit Animal, the Cytometry, and the Microscopy platforms (CHU de Qu?bec). The authors also thank the High-Throughput Genomics and Bioinformatic Analysis Core at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a foundation grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (E.B.). E.B. is recipient of a new investigator award from the CIHR and the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRQS); and is a Canadian National Transplant Research Program researcher. P.R.F. is a recipient of a tier 1 Canada Research Chair on Systemic Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases. N.T. and I.M. are recipients of fellowships from The Arthritis Society and from FRQS. R.A.C. is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Aging (K01AG059892). M.T.R. is supported by grants from the NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (HL142804 and HL130541) and the National Institute on Aging (AG048022 and AG059877). M.T.R. was also supported, in part, by Merit Review Award Number I01 CX001696 from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Sciences R&D Service. This material is, in part, the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center. K.R.M. supported by the NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K01DK111515), and is an American Society of Hematology Scholar. J.R. is a recipient of an operating grant from the CIHR (PJT-159652). D.S. was the recipient of a studentship from FRQS and Merit Fellowships from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. C.L. is supported by the Lupus Research Alliance (519414).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy (all)


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