Advances in autothermal fast pyrolysis are detailed in an article published in Applied Energy by researchers from the Bioeconomy Institute. Although oxygen is traditionally excluded from fast pyrolysis reactors, the autothermal approach admits a small amount of oxygen in the form of air. The article’s authors, Joseph Polin, Chad Peterson, Lysle Whitmer, Ryan Smith, and Robert Brown, conclude that the technology can overcome the heat transfer bottleneck of fast pyrolysis without significantly reducing bio-oil yield.
Autothermal pyrolysis is a promising new technology for the conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals. The article, “Process intensification of biomass fast pyrolysis through autothermal operation of a fluidized bed reactor,” outlines how the researchers eliminated the heat transfer bottleneck of conventional pyrolysis by providing energy for pyrolysis through partial oxidation of pyrolysis products. As a result, biomass throughput is increased three-fold. The publication can be accessed at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261919308141?via%3Dihub.
Polin recently received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University and will be an engineer with Frontline BioEnergy, LLC, working on autothermal pyrolysis and other thermochemical technologies. Peterson is a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering and a BEI research assistant. Whitmer is a BEI senior thermochemical research engineer, while Smith is BEI deputy director. Brown is BEI director and a distinguished professor and Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State.
Applied Energy provides a forum for information on innovation, research, development and demonstration in the areas of energy conversion and conservation, the optimal use of energy resources, analysis and optimization of energy processes, mitigation of environmental pollutants, and sustainable energy systems.