Lignocellulosic Biomass Pyrolysis Product Comparison From a Micropyrolyzer, Batch and Continuous Reactor Systems

Fuels and Petrochemicals Division
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 6, 2013 - 3:15pm-3:30pm

Lignocellulosic Biomass Pyrolysis product comparison from a micropyrolyzer , batch and continuous reactor systems This project aims at advancing the current state of knowledge of biomass pyrolysis by developing an understanding of the pyrolytic reaction mechanisms of different feedstocks , and to find common grounds between different lignocellulosic biomass and system configurations. To understand these differences three successive scales of pyrolysis equipment have been implemented;  Stage I , a micro-pyrolyzer , Stage II , a small-scale tubular batch reactor , and Stage III , a fluidized-bed continuous reactor. Understanding the differences on reaction mechanisms for each of the stages is a key element to properly identify and determine the products obtained from pyrolysis. To separate primary from secondary reactions , a µg scale pyroprobe system combined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS) is used to study the chemical composition of volatile products from previously hydrolyzed and torrefied biomass. Effects of the severity of hydrolysis pretreatment and torrefaction on the chemical composition and yield distribution of the fast pyrolysis products will be evaluated. The chemical composition study of pyrolyzed biomass would then aid in the understanding of the chemistry behind the different compounds to further enhance the process of upgrading bio-crude oil. For a batch reactor , a tubular furnace is used to pyrolyze the samples , and the products will be compared with a continuous fluidizing bed reactor. Although the reaction mechanisms are different , and the biomass particles in the fluidization medium have greatly enhanced heat and mass transfer in fluidized beds reactors. This is the first step to understand and find common ground between the different feedstocks , and to move from lab scale to a pilot scale reactor. This study investigates common Reed Grass (Phragmites Australis) , and Pinewood as examples of different sources of lignocellulosic biomass as potential feedstock for bio-oil production. Phragmites represents grassy biomass; it is a prevalent waste on Villanova’s campus and around the world. It is potentially a valuable energy and chemical feedstock due to its high yield (18-28 tons of biomass per acre per year). Pinewood represents hardwood biomass with high cellulose content and for our study it is the control system in which all other biomasses will be related to. Based on the results obtained by analytical pyrolysis this study will focus on obtaining bio-crude oil from Phragmites australis and Pinewood using a batch reactor and compare the results from a fluidized bed continuous reactor. Through this study , groundwork is established as a preliminary attempt to understand how various feedstocks can be used for biomass conversion to more useful energy sources.

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