Energy recovery by fast pyrolysis of pre-treated trommel fines derived from a UK-based MSW material recycling facility

Joseph Eke, Anthony V. Bridgwater, Jude A. Onwudili*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this experimental study, a physically pre-treated trommel fines feedstock, containing 44 wt% non-volatiles (ash and fixed carbon) and 56 wt% volatile matter (dry basis), was subjected to fast pyrolysis to recover energy from its organic load, using a 300 g h−1 bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) fast pyrolysis rig. A physical pre-treatment method (including crushing, grinding and sieving) was used to prepare a 0.5–2 mm sized trommel fines feedstock to make it suitable for fast pyrolysis in the BFB reactor. Experimental results from the fast pyrolysis process showed that the highest yield of organic liquid was obtained at around a temperature of 500 °C. However, both char and gas yields increased dramatically at temperatures above 500 °C, as a result of enhanced cracking of organic vapours, which reduced the yield of liquid products. Overall, energy recovery from the pyrolysis products (liquid and gas products as well as char pot residues) ranged from 63 to 70%, generally increasing with temperature. A large proportion of the high ash content (36 wt%) of the feedstock was found in the char pot (>62%), while smaller proportions were found in the reactor bed and some liquid products. The char pot ash residues composed mostly of non-hazardous earth materials and may be applied in bulk construction materials e.g. cement manufacture. Although, there was no problem with the pyrolysis rig during 1 h of operation, longer periods of operation would require periodic removal of accumulated solid residues and/or char pot modification to ensure continuous rig operation and process safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2006-2016
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Energy Institute
Issue number5
Early online date22 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Energy recovery
  • Fast pyrolysis
  • Pre-treated trommel fines
  • Pyrolysis liquid
  • Solid residues


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy recovery by fast pyrolysis of pre-treated trommel fines derived from a UK-based MSW material recycling facility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this