Furfural is a promising candidate in the quest for alternative biofuels. The combustion industries are very interested in what could become a potential new type of fuel derived from atmospheric-plasma treatment of biomass. But before the gas can be considered for use on a large scale, it is essential to understand its energy characteristics.
Now, a Spanish team has published its findings on the gas's energy efficiency in EPJ D. Ana Lozano from the Institute of Fundamental Physics in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues studied an electron beam entering a cell filled with furfural gas molecules to study its scattering characteristics, providing the first accurate experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of the interaction between electron and gas particles—via electron scattering cross-section measurements— for selected electron beam impact energies.
The authors applied a magnetic field along the direction of the electron beam entering a cell filled with furfural gas. They observed that the magnetic field converts any potential deflection due to scattering between the electrons and furfural gas molecules into an energy loss in the forward direction of the magnetic field.
Further, the team used a device called a retarding field analyser to effectively discriminate between scattered and unscattered electrons, which allowed them to accurately measure the energy of transmitted electrons as a function of the furfural gas pressure in the scattering chamber. They then used these experimental results as input parameters to create a simulation of the transport of 10 million electrons with an initial energy of 10 eV through gaseous furfural.
This led to the establishment of a benchmark evaluation of the total low-energy electron scattering cross-sections from furfural and energy loss estimates for selected energies (7, 10 and 20 eV).
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Ana I. Lozano et al, Low energy electron transport in furfural, The European Physical Journal D (2017). DOI: 10.1140/epjd/e2017-80326-0