Pryolytic and kinetic study of Chlorella Vulgaris under isothermal and non-isothermal conditions

  • Neeranuch Phusunti

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Algae are a new potential biomass for energy production but there is limited information on their pyrolysis and kinetics. The main aim of this thesis is to investigate the pyrolytic behaviour and kinetics of Chlorella vulgaris, a green microalga. Under pyrolysis
conditions, these microalgae show their comparable capabilities to terrestrial biomass for energy and chemicals production. Also, the evidence from a preliminary pyrolysis by the intermediate pilot-scale reactor supports the applicability of these microalgae in the existing pyrolysis reactor.
Thermal decomposition of Chlorella vulgaris occurs in a wide range of temperature (200-550°C) with multi-step reactions. To evaluate the kinetic parameters of their pyrolysis process, two approaches which are isothermal and non-isothermal experiments are applied in this work. New developed Pyrolysis-Mass Spectrometry (Py-MS) technique has the potential for isothermal measurements with a short run time and small sample size
requirement. The equipment and procedure are assessed by the kinetic evaluation of thermal decomposition of polyethylene and lignocellulosic derived materials (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin). In the case of non-isothermal experiment, Thermogravimetry-
Mass Spectrometry (TG-MS) technique is used in this work. Evolved gas analysis provides
the information on the evolution of volatiles and these data lead to a multi-component model. Triplet kinetic values (apparent activation energy, pre-exponential factor, and
apparent reaction order) from isothermal experiment are 57 (kJ/mol), 5.32 (logA, min-1),
1.21-1.45; 9 (kJ/mol), 1.75 (logA, min-1), 1.45 and 40 (kJ/mol), 3.88 (logA, min-1), 1.45-
1.15 for low, middle and high temperature region, respectively. The kinetic parameters from non-isothermal experiment are varied depending on the different fractions in algal biomass when the range of apparent activation energies are 73-207 (kJ/mol); pre-exponential factor are 5-16 (logA, min-1); and apparent reaction orders are 1.32–2.00. The
kinetic procedures reported in this thesis are able to be applied to other kinds of biomass and algae for future works.
Date of Award10 Jan 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndreas Hornung (Supervisor) & Gareth Griffiths (Supervisor)


  • kinetics
  • microalgae
  • pyrolysis
  • pyrolysis-mass spectrometry (Py-MS)
  • thermogravimetry-mass spectrometry (TG-MS)
  • chlorella vulgaris

Cite this