Fast pyrolysis is the thermochemical decomposition of biomass through rapid heating at a temperature of 450 – 600 C, in the absence of oxygen.

Our unique pyrolysis technology turns lignocellulosic biomass residues into a dark-brown bioliquid known as fast pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO), a homogeneous energy carrier. The by-products of our fast pyrolysis process are heat (steam) and power (electricity).

Technological performance

Our fast pyrolysis technology converts up to 70% of the dry basis biomass feedstock into bio-oil and the remaining parts into char and gas. The heat produced by the combustion of pyrolysis char and non-condensable gasses is recovered as high pressure steam and can be utilized in a steam turbine system for electric power generation and feedstock drying. Excess steam can be sold to nearby industrial facilities or district heating grids.

Main advantages

Our patented fast pyrolysis technology design offers several advantages:

Absence of inert carrier gas Instead of carrier gas, mechanical mixing is used for the rapid heating of biomass particles. As a result gas volume flows are smaller, resulting in smaller downstream equipment.
High feedstock flexibility: suitable for a wide range of biomass residues Our technology can handle biomass residues with low ash melting temperatures, as temperatures in the heat carrier cycle can be controlled to a large extent.
Low amounts of solids in the oil (down to 0,01 % wt) Due to our patented cyclone design and our high sand-to-biomass ratio, the produced pyrolysis oil is stable and has a very low solids content.
Lower CAPEX and OPEX As explained, the RCR principle inherently results in more compact equipment. In combination with a standardized but flexible design, the CAPEX is lower. Optimizing the design with efficient and integrated heat recovery results in lower OPEX.
Shorter construction time on location With our modular building approach, we can erect a plant on site within two weeks.
High energy efficiency: up to 85/90% (biomass in – oil/heat/electricity out) The excess heat of the process produces enough steam to bring the moisture content of biomass residues (up to wet basis 55%) down to the reguired level, in combination with power generation. In general, more electricity can be produced than required for the entire plant.

Feedstock flexibility

A large number of different lignocellulosic feedstocks can be processed in our fast pyrolysis plants. We tested more than 45 different kinds, such as wood, sunflower husk, bagasse, tobacco, energy crops, straw, olive stone residues and many more, to establish their pyrolysis oil yield and quality. Typically, woody biomass gives the highest yields.

Before entering the reactor, the particles in the biomass residues will be reduced to a size below 3 mm to allow rapid conversion. At the same time, its moisture content will be brought below 3 wt.%, to avoid too much water in the pyrolysis oil.

Pyrolysis oil properties

Our fast pyrolysis technology produces an FPBO (fast pyrolysis bio-oil) that contains a low ash and solid concentration. The energy density of FPBO is 5 to 20 times higher than the original biomass residue. The heating value (LHV) of pyrolysis oil is 16-23 MJ/l, compared to 37 MJ/l for fossil fuels. The density of the liquid is about 1170 kg/m3, which is denser than fuel oil and significantly denser than the original biomass residues.

Pyrolysis oil has a low pH-value of around 2.5-3. Due to the large amount of oxygenated components, the oil has a polar nature and does not mix with hydrocarbons. The degradation products from the original biomass include organic acids (like formic and acetic acid), giving the oil its low pH. Water is an integral part of the single-phase chemical solution. The bio-oil has water contents of typically 15-30 wt%. Phase separation occurs when the water content is higher than about 30%.

For more information on the production, application and sustainability of fast pyrolysis from biomass, check

Mark Richters
Mark Richters | Marketing & Sales Manager

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