Energy production from biomass and waste derived intermediate pyrolysis oils

  • Yang Yang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study investigates the use of Pyroformer intermediate pyrolysis system to produce alternative diesel engines fuels (pyrolysis oil) from various biomass and waste feedstocks and the application of these pyrolysis oils in a diesel engine generating system for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) production.
The pyrolysis oils were produced in a pilot-scale (20 kg/h) intermediate pyrolysis system. Comprehensive characterisations, with a view to use as engine fuels, were carried out on the sewage sludge and de-inking sludge derived pyrolysis oils. They were both found to be able to provide sufficient heat for fuelling a diesel engine. The pyrolysis oils also presented poor combustibility and high carbon deposition, but these problems could be mitigated by means of blending the pyrolysis oils with biodiesel (derived from waste cooking oil).
The blends of SSPO (sewage sludge pyrolysis oil) and biodiesel (30/70 and 50/50 in volumetric ratios) were tested in a 15 kWe Lister type stationary generating system for up to 10 hours. There was no apparent deterioration observed in engine operation. With 30% SSPO blended into biodiesel, the engine presents better overall performance (electric efficiency), fuel consumption, and overall exhaust emissions than with 50% SSPO blend.
An overall system analysis was carried out on a proposed integrated Pyroformer-CHP system. Combined with real experimental results, this was used for evaluating the costs for producing heat and power and char from wood pellets and sewage sludge. It is concluded that the overall system efficiencies for both types of plant can be over 40%; however the integrated CHP system is not economically viable. This is due to extraordinary project capital investment required.
Date of Award12 Mar 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn G Brammer (Supervisor)


  • biomass
  • waste
  • intermediate pyrolysis
  • pyroformer
  • pyrolysis oil
  • diesel engine
  • combined heat and power

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