Directly synthesizing nano-sized carbon particles from pine woods

Led by Dr. Qiangu (Jeremy) Yan, the researchers at the Mississippi State University synthesized carbon nano-spheres from renewable resources like pine and sugars. Their work was featured on the cover of the third issue of the journal Trends in Renewable Energy. (Trends in Renewable Energy, vol. 1, 119-128. doi:10.17737/tre.2015.1.2.0012)

“Various feedstocks such as cyclohexane and acetylene have been used to produce nanoscale carbons. However, these raw sources were not sustainable or renewable and these processes were usually expensive,” said Yan.

In this effort, the hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) method was used to convert saccharides derived from pinewood. The HTC reactions happened under moderate temperatures and self-generated pressures over an aqueous solution, representing a promising process to produce nanostructured carbon materials from woody biomass.

The researchers proved that carbon nanospheres from xylose had a perfect spherical shape with the highest yield among all feedstock used, and the mixture of saccharides from acid hydrolysis of pine wood can be used as carbon sources to synthesize 50-100 nm carbon nano-spheres. Contact: Dr. Jeremy Yan Email:, Dr. Rui Li Email: More information:

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