Catalytic intermediate pyrolysis of Brunei rice husk for bio-oil production

  • Muhammad Abu Bakar

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Rice husks from Brunei were subjected via intermediate pyrolysis for bio-oil production. Two
main objectives were set out for this study. The application of intermediate pyrolysis on Brunei rice husk for the production of bio-oil is the main objective of this experiment. Characterisation of the rice husks was inclusive as a pre-requisite step to assess the
suitability as feedstock for production of liquid fuels. Following on from the characterisation results, a temperature of 450°C was established as the optimum temperature for the production of bio-oil. A homogenous bio-oil was obtained from the pyrolysis of dry rice husk, and the physicochemical properties and chemical compositions were analysed.
The second objective is the introduction of catalysts into the pyrolysis process which aims to
improve the bio-oil quality, and maximise the desired liquid bio-oil properties. The incorporation of the catalysts was done via a fixed tube reactor into the pyrolysis system. Ceramic monoliths were used as the catalyst support, with montmorillonite clay as a binder
to attach the catalysts onto the catalyst support. ZSM-5, Al-MCM-41, Al-MSU-F and Brunei
rice husk ash (BRHA) together with its combination were adopted as catalysts. Proposed criterions dictated the selection of the best catalysts, subsequently leading to the optimisation process for bio-oil production. ZSM-5/Al-MCM-41 proved the most desirable
catalyst, which increases the production of aromatics and phenols, decreased the organic
acids and improved the physicochemical properties such as the pH, viscosity, density and
H:C molar ratios. Variation in the ratio and positioning of both catalysts were the significant
key factor for the catalyst optimisation study.
Date of Award17 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJames O Titiloye (Supervisor)


  • Brunei rick husk
  • intermediate pyrolysis
  • bio-oil
  • zeolites
  • catalyst optimisation

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