Joseph J. Biernacki

Tennessee Tech University

Fast pyrolysis kinetics

Ali Zolghadr, Department of Chemical Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN 38505, United States

Biomass fast pyrolysis, which involves rapid heating in the absence of oxygen, is emerging as a promising approach for renewable production of fuels and chemicals.  Many technologies are being investigated and developed to optimize the yields of gases, liquids, or chars. My initial work focuses on effect of carrier gas composition, gas and solid phase residence time and heating rate on the rate of pyrolysis. A novel laboratory-scale fast pyrolysis technique is being developed for this purpose. The rate of hydrocarbon gas production is being determined using a flame ionization detector (FID) connected in series with the fast pyrolysis reactor.  Biomass microspheres, a technology developed at Tennessee Tech University (TTU), are used as a form of controlled geometry feedstock.  Microspheres of crystalline cellulose, tall fescue and switch grass are the first target materials to be studied. In this first stage of work, the effect of carrier gas chemistry (N2, CO2, He, Ar) and gas phase residence time is being explored.

In recent work done at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a fast mass spectrometer was used to capture real-time changes in gas composition as individual biomass particles were pyrolized.  The following videos illustrate the dynamics of pyrolysis:

Crystalline Cellulose Pyrolysis at 973 K

Switch Grass Pyrolysis at 973 K

Tall Fescue Pyrolysis at 973 K

Poster – Tennessee Technological University, Research Day 2016

Ali zolghadr-Poster-2016 (JJB)

Poster – Tennessee Technological University, Research Day 2015

Research Day Ali-Poster (jjb)

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