Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass Using Concentrated Solar Radiation

Beagle, Emily
Concerns about climate change and rising petroleum fuel prices have sparked the need for research in alternative energy sources. Pyrolysis is a high temperature reaction (300-700°C) that occurs in the absence of oxygen and reduces biomass to char, gases and bio-oil Fast pyrolysis occurs at high heating rates and results in a high yield of bio-oil. This produce bio-oil has the potential to be used as an alternative transportation fuel source. The use of concentrated solar radiation as a heat source for the pyrolysis reaction further increases its appeal as a viable energy alternative for the future. A bench size pyrolysis reactor and condensing system was designed, constructed and implemented to perform pyrolysis testing on biomass samples. A solar simulator was used in place of actual concentrated solar radiation. In order to improve the bio-oil collection a four stage temperature varying condensing system was designed and tested. Experiments were run in the laboratory using the designed reactor and condensing system that resulted in successful pyrolysis reactions with biomass and proper collection of bio-oil and other products in the four stage condensing system.
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