Influence of reaction atmosphere (H2O, N2, H2, CO2, CO) on fluidized-bed fast pyrolysis of biomass using detailed tar vapor chemistry in computational fluid dynamics

Pelle Mellin*, Xi Yu, Weihong Yang, Wlodzimierz Blasiak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Secondary pyrolysis in fluidized bed fast pyrolysis of biomass is the focus of this work. A novel computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model coupled with a comprehensive chemistry scheme (134 species and 4169 reactions, in CHEMKIN format) has been developed to investigate this complex phenomenon. Previous results from a transient three-dimensional model of primary pyrolysis were used for the source terms of primary products in this model. A parametric study of reaction atmospheres (H2O, N2, H2, CO2, CO) has been performed. For the N2 and H2O atmosphere, results of the model compared favorably to experimentally obtained yields after the temperature was adjusted to a value higher than that used in experiments. One notable deviation versus experiments is pyrolytic water yield and yield of higher hydrocarbons. The model suggests a not overly strong impact of the reaction atmosphere. However, both chemical and physical effects were observed. Most notably, effects could be seen on the yield of various compounds, temperature profile throughout the reactor system, residence time, radical concentration, and turbulent intensity. At the investigated temperature (873 K), turbulent intensity appeared to have the strongest influence on liquid yield. With the aid of acceleration techniques, most importantly dimension reduction, chemistry agglomeration, and in-situ tabulation, a converged solution could be obtained within a reasonable time (∼30 h). As such, a new potentially useful method has been suggested for numerical analysis of fast pyrolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8344-8355
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number33
Early online date29 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits
copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.

Funding: Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) for financial support of the research work (Project 33284-1).


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