Energy conversion assessment of vacuum, slow and fast pyrolysis processes for low and high ash paper waste sludge

Angelo J. Ridout, Marion Carrier, François Xavier Collard, Johann Görgens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The performance of vacuum, slow and fast pyrolysis processes to transfer energy from the paper waste sludge (PWS) to liquid and solid products was compared. Paper waste sludges with low and high ash content (8.5 and 46.7 wt.%) were converted under optimised conditions for temperature and pellet size to maximise both product yields and energy content. Comparison of the gross energy conversions, as a combination of the bio-oil/tarry phase and char (ECsum), revealed that the fast pyrolysis performance was between 18.5% and 20.1% higher for the low ash PWS, and 18.4% and 36.5% higher for high ash PWS, when compared to the slow and vacuum pyrolysis processes respectively. For both PWSs, this finding was mainly attributed to higher production of condensable organic compounds and lower water yields during FP. The low ash PWS chars, fast pyrolysis bio-oils and vacuum pyrolysis tarry phase products had high calorific values (∼18-23 MJ kg-1) making them promising for energy applications. Considering the low calorific values of the chars from alternative pyrolysis processes (∼4-7 MJ kg-1), the high ash PWS should rather be converted to fast pyrolysis bio-oil to maximise the recovery of usable energy products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date5 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


Bibliographical note

-Supplementary data available on the journal website.


  • bio-oil
  • char
  • energy conversion
  • paper waste sludge
  • pyrolysis

Cite this