Keyword: Fast pyrolysis

Fast pyrolysis is a process in which organic material is heated to about 500 °C within a few seconds in the absence of oxygen. Under these conditions, organic and hydrous vapours, pyrolysis gas and charcoal are produced. The vapours are rapidly cooled and condense to a highly viscous liquid, called pyrolysis oil, pyrolysis liquid or fast pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO). This main product of fast pyrolysis has about 70% of the energy content of biomass and has about half the calorific value of a conventional fuel oil. Additionally, charcoal (10-15%) and gas (15-20%) are produced as valuable by-products, which can be used to generate process energy. In the pyrolysis process, most of the ash and minerals are bound in the charcoal and can be removed from the process and recycled. Therefore, biomass streams with a high ash content can be converted into almost ash-free biogenic pyrolysis oil.

In addition to fast pyrolysis, there is also the slow pyrolysis process, but this is mainly aimed at the production of charcoal. Fast pyrolysis is optimised for the conversion of biomass into liquids and is designed to achieve the highest possible yields. The pyrolysis process is energy self-sufficient and is suitable for the production of FPBO from a wide range of biomass or biomass residues. It is easy to store and transport and could be used in the future as a 2nd generation regenerative fuel in adapted oil heating systems for the generation of space heating due to its flexible availability at a relatively high energy density.

Research projects at OWI on the use of pyrolysis oil:

SmartCHP” (press release)
Residue2Heat” (press release)