(604v) Use of a Pilot Scale Fluid Bed Pyrolysis Reactor in Undergraduate Engineering Education

Klemetsrud, B., University of North Dakota
Klinger, J., Michigan Technological University
Shonnard, D. R., Michigan Technological University

As renewable energy becomes more prevalent in today's engineering and academic environments, new analytical tools and laboratory training are required to prepare students for environmental technologies of the future.   One approach to accomplish this is through introduction to pilot-level equipment with carefully controlled and constructed experiments to disseminate the ideas and motivations through hands-on work.  To address these points, a pyrolysis pilot plant (1 kg/hr) was constructed to provide learning opportunities in the engineering and sustainability aspects of renewable energy. With the aid of undergraduate students and the Alternative Energy Enterprise team at Michigan Tech, we are investigating the effects of reaction conditions on quality of biooil produced, on energy efficiency of the process, mass balance closure, and scale-up from micro- to pilot-scale.  Different woody feedstocks will be investigated to see how the bio-oil quality is affected.  Standard laboratory techniques will be used to evaluate the fuels quality - GC-MS to identify product distribution, bomb calorimetry for HHV of the bio-oil, and the pH and viscosity will be measured. The pilot plant is equipped with a power monitoring system to assess the energy requirements of the system.  In addition, students will complete mass and energy balances to understand system efficiencies, propose improvements, and to obtain a full understanding of the complex chemical system.  This pilot plant is used not only as a learning tool for undergraduate students within the chemical engineering department, but will also yield important considerations in assessing the technology transition of pyrolysis to a pilot scale.