Lignin pyrolysis: results from an international collaboration

Daniel J. Nowakowski, Anthony V. Bridgwater, D.C. Elliot, D. Meier, Phillipe de Wilde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An international study of fast pyrolysis of lignin was undertaken. Fourteen laboratories in eight different countries contributed. Two lignin samples were distributed to the laboratories for analysis and bench-scale process testing in fast pyrolysis. Analyses included proximate and ultimate analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, and analytical pyrolysis. The bench-scale test included bubbling fluidized-bed reactors and entrained-flow systems. Based on the results of the various analyses and tests it was concluded that a concentrated lignin (estimated at about 50% lignin and 50% cellulose) behaved like a typical biomass, producing a slightly reduced amount of a fairly typical bio-oil, while a purified lignin material was difficult to process in the fast pyrolysis reactors and produced a much lower amount of a different kind of bio-oil. It was concluded that for highly concentrated lignin feedstocks new reactor designs will be required other than the typical fluidized-bed fast pyrolysis systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • fast pyrolysis
  • lignin
  • bio-oil
  • fluidized-bed


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