Advertisement

Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 17–32 | Cite as

Biomass pyrolysis: past, present, and future

  • Tamer Y. A. FahmyEmail author
  • Yehia Fahmy
  • Fardous Mobarak
  • Mohamed El-Sakhawy
  • Ragab E. Abou-Zeid
Review

Abstract

Biomass pyrolysis is a promising renewable sustainable source of fuels and petrochemical substitutes. It may help in compensating the progressive consumption of fossil-fuel reserves. The present article outlines biomass pyrolysis. Various types of biomass used for pyrolysis are encompassed, e.g., wood, agricultural residues, sewage. Categories of pyrolysis are outlined, e.g., flash, fast, and slow. Emphasis is laid on current and future trends in biomass pyrolysis, e.g., microwave pyrolysis, solar pyrolysis, plasma pyrolysis, hydrogen production via biomass pyrolysis, co-pyrolysis of biomass with synthetic polymers and sewage, selective preparation of high-valued chemicals, pyrolysis of exotic biomass (coffee grounds and cotton shells), comparison between algal and terrestrial biomass pyrolysis. Specific future prospects are investigated, e.g., preparation of supercapacitor biochar materials by one-pot one-step pyrolysis of biomass with other ingredients, and fabricating metallic catalysts embedded on biochar for removal of environmental contaminants. The authors predict that combining solar pyrolysis with hydrogen production would be the eco-friendliest and most energetically feasible process in the future. Since hydrogen is an ideal clean fuel, this process may share in limiting climate changes due to CO2 emissions.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

Sustainable and renewable energy sources Fossil-fuel alternatives Biomass pyrolysis Biofuel (bio-oil, biogas, biochar) Charcoal (activated carbon) 

References

  1. Bashir, M., Yu, X., Hassan, M., & Makkawi, Y. (2017). Modeling and performance analysis of biomass fast pyrolysis in a solar-thermal reactor. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,5, 3795–3807.Google Scholar
  2. Baumann, H., Bittner, D., Beiers, H. G., et al. (1988). Pyrolysis of coal in hydrogen and helium plasmas. Fuel,67, 1120–1123.Google Scholar
  3. Borges, F. C., Du, Z., Xie, Q., et al. (2014a). Fast microwave assisted pyrolysis of biomass using microwave absorbent. Bioresource Technology,156, 267–274.Google Scholar
  4. Borges, F. C., Xie, Q., Min, M., et al. (2014b). Fast microwave-assisted pyrolysis of microalgae using microwave absorbent and HZSM-5 catalyst. Bioresource Technology,166, 518–526.Google Scholar
  5. Burger, P. (2013). Ancient maritime pitch and tar a multi-disciplinary study of sources, technology and preservation. British Museum. https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/all_current_projects/ancient_maritime_pitch_and_tar.aspx.
  6. Chen, X., Yang, H., Chen, Y., et al. (2017). Catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass to produce furfural using heterogeneous catalysts. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis,127, 292–298.Google Scholar
  7. Chisolm, H. (1910). Encyclopedia britannica (Vol. 5). New York: Encycl. Br.Google Scholar
  8. Cho, D. W., Kwon, G., Ok, Y. S., et al. (2017). Reduction of bromate by cobalt-impregnated biochar fabricated via pyrolysis of lignin using CO2 as a reaction medium. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces,9, 13142–13150.Google Scholar
  9. Choi, Y. S., Choi, S. K., Kim, S. J., et al. (2017). Fast pyrolysis of coffee ground in a tilted-slide reactor and characteristics of biocrude oil. Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy,36, 655–661.Google Scholar
  10. Daintith, J. (2013). “tar,” 6th edn. A dictionary of chemistry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Del Río, J. C., Rencoret, J., Prinsen, P., et al. (2012). Structural characterization of wheat straw lignin as revealed by analytical pyrolysis, 2D-NMR, and reductive cleavage methods. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry,60, 5922–5935.Google Scholar
  12. Dorado, C., Mullen, C. A., & Boateng, A. A. (2014). H-ZSM5 catalyzed co-pyrolysis of biomass and plastics. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,2, 301–311.Google Scholar
  13. Duman, G., & Yanik, J. (2017). Two-step steam pyrolysis of biomass for hydrogen production. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy,42, 17000–17008.Google Scholar
  14. El-Shinnawy, N. A., Heikal, S., & Fahmy, Y. (1983). Saccharification of cotton bolls by concentrated sulphuric acid. Research and Industry,28(2), 123–126.Google Scholar
  15. Fahmy, Y. (1982). Pyrolysis of agricultural residues. I. Prospects of lignocellulose pyrolysis for producing chemicals and energy sources. Cellulose Chemistry and Technology,16, 347–355.Google Scholar
  16. Fahmy, Y., Fadl, M. H., & El-Shinnawy, N. A. (1975). Saccharification of cotton stalks. Research and Industry,20(1), 7–10.Google Scholar
  17. Fahmy, Y., Fahmy, T. Y. A., Mobarak, F., et al. (2017). Agricultural residues (wastes) for manufacture of paper, board, and miscellaneous products: Background overview and future prospects. International Journal of ChemTech Research,10, 424–448.Google Scholar
  18. Fahmy, Y., Mobarak, F., & Schweers, W. (1982). Pyrolysis of agricultural residues. II. Yield and chemical composition of tars and oils produced from cotton stalks, and assessment of lignin structure. Cellulose Chemistry and Technology,16, 453–459.Google Scholar
  19. Fechler, N., Wohlgemuth, S.-A., Jäker, P., & Antonietti, M. (2013). Salt and sugar: direct synthesis of high surface area carbon materials at low temperatures via hydrothermal carbonization of glucose under hypersaline conditions. Journal of Materials Chemistry A,1, 9418.Google Scholar
  20. Field, C. B., Behrenfeld, M. J., Randerson, J. T., & Falkowski, P. (1998). Primary productivity of the biosphere: An integration of terrestrial and oceanic components. Science,281(80), 237–240.Google Scholar
  21. Genovese, M., Jiang, J., Lian, K., & Holm, N. (2015). High capacitive performance of exfoliated biochar nanosheets from biomass waste corn cob. Journal of Materials Chemistry A,3, 2903–2913.Google Scholar
  22. Gitzhofer, F. (2015). A review on plasma technologies applied to thermo-chemical biomass conversion. In: Biorefinery I: Chemicals and materials from thermo-chemical biomass conversion and related processes. Engineering Conferences International Symposium Series. September 27th, October 2nd 2015, Chania, Greece. http://dc.engconfintl.org/biorefinery_I/11.
  23. Goldfarb, J. L., Dou, G., Salari, M., & Grinstaff, M. W. (2017). Biomass-based fuels and activated carbon electrode materials: An integrated approach to green energy systems. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,5, 3046–3054.Google Scholar
  24. He, S., Hu, C., Hou, H., & Chen, W. (2014). Ultrathin MnO2 nanosheets supported on cellulose based carbon papers for high-power supercapacitors. Journal of Power Sources,246, 754–761.Google Scholar
  25. Housecroft, C. E., & Sharpe, A. G. (2005). Inorganic chemistry (2nd ed., p. 888). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  26. Huang, X., Cheng, D., Chen, F., & Zhan, X. (2016). Reaction pathways of hemicellulose and mechanism of biomass pyrolysis in hydrogen plasma: A density functional theory study. Renew Energy,96, 490–497.Google Scholar
  27. ISO 5660-1. (2002). Reaction-to-fire tests—Heat release, smoke production and mass loss rate—Part 1: Heat release rate (cone calorimeter method) (p. 39). Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.Google Scholar
  28. Jensen, P. A., Frandsen, F. J., Dam-Johansen, K., & Sander, B. (2000). Experimental investigation of the transformation and release to gas phase of potassium and chlorine during straw pyrolysis. Energy & Fuels,14, 1280–1285.Google Scholar
  29. Jiang, J., Zhang, L., Wang, X., et al. (2013). Highly ordered macroporous woody biochar with ultra-high carbon content as supercapacitor electrodes. Electrochimica Acta,113, 481–489.Google Scholar
  30. Jimenez, G. D., Monti, T., Titman, J. J., et al. (2017). New insights into microwave pyrolysis of biomass: Preparation of carbon-based products from pecan nutshells and their application in wastewater treatment. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis,124, 113–121.Google Scholar
  31. Joardder, M. U., Halder, P. K., Rahim, A., & Paul, N. (2014). Solar assisted fast pyrolysis: a novel approach of renewable energy production. Journal of Engineering, 2014, Article ID 252848.Google Scholar
  32. Jonsson, E. (2016). Slow pyrolysis in Brista: An evaluation of heat and biochar production in Sweden (Dissertation). KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.Google Scholar
  33. Kan, T., Strezov, V., & Evans, T. (2013). Catalytic pyrolysis of coffee grounds using NiCu-impregnated catalysts. Energy & Fuels,28, 228–235.Google Scholar
  34. Kan, T., Strezov, V., & Evans, T. J. (2016). Lignocellulosic biomass pyrolysis: A review of product properties and effects of pyrolysis parameters. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,1, 1126–1140.Google Scholar
  35. Kan, T., Xiong, J., Li, X., Ye, T., Yuan, L., Torimoto, Y., et al. (2010). High efficient production of hydrogen from crude bio-oil via an integrative process between gasification and current-enhanced catalytic steam reforming. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy,35, 518–532.Google Scholar
  36. Kiel, J. H., Van Paasen, S. V., Neeft, J. P., Devi, L., Ptasinski, K. J., Janssen, F. J., et al. (2004) Primary measures to reduce tar formation in fluidised-bed biomass gasifiers- final report SDE-project P1999-012”. Report ECN-C–04-014, ECN, Petten.Google Scholar
  37. Kim, B. S., Kim, Y. M., Lee, H. W., et al. (2016). Catalytic copyrolysis of cellulose and thermoplastics over HZSM-5 and HY. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,4, 1354–1363.Google Scholar
  38. König, J. (2004) Notional versus one-dimensional charring rates of timber. In World conference on timber engineering. Lahti, Finland (pp. 483–486).Google Scholar
  39. Lawrinenko, M., Laird, D. A., & Van Leeuwen, J. H. (2017). Sustainable pyrolytic production of zerovalent iron. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,5, 767–773.Google Scholar
  40. Li, X., Li, J., Zhou, G., et al. (2014). Enhancing the production of renewable petrochemicals by co-feeding of biomass with plastics in catalytic fast pyrolysis with ZSM-5 zeolites. Applied Catalysis, A: General,481, 173–182.Google Scholar
  41. Li, R., Zeng, K., Soria, J., et al. (2016). Product distribution from solar pyrolysis of agricultural and forestry biomass residues. Renew Energy,89, 27–35.Google Scholar
  42. Li, X., Zhang, H., Li, J., et al. (2013). Improving the aromatic production in catalytic fast pyrolysis of cellulose by co-feeding low-density polyethylene. Applied Catalysis, A: General,455, 114–121.Google Scholar
  43. Liu, W. J., Tian, K., He, Y. R., et al. (2014). High-yield harvest of nanofibers/mesoporous carbon composite by pyrolysis of waste biomass and its application for high durability electrochemical energy storage. Environmental Science and Technology,48, 13951–13959.Google Scholar
  44. Liu, S., Xie, Q., Zhang, B., et al. (2016). Fast microwave-assisted catalytic co-pyrolysis of corn stover and scum for bio-oil production with CaO and HZSM-5 as the catalyst. Bioresource Technology,204, 164–170.Google Scholar
  45. Lu, Q., Ye, X. N., Zhang, Z. B., et al. (2016). Catalytic fast pyrolysis of bagasse using activated carbon catalyst to selectively produce 4-ethyl phenol. Energy & Fuels,30, 10618–10626.Google Scholar
  46. Madhu, P., Kanagasabapathy, H., & Neethi Manickam, I. (2016). Cotton shell utilization as a source of biomass energy for bio-oil by flash pyrolysis on electrically heated fluidized bed reactor. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management,18, 146–155.Google Scholar
  47. Maliutina, K., Tahmasebi, A., Yu, J., & Saltykov, S. N. (2017). Comparative study on flash pyrolysis characteristics of microalgal and lignocellulosic biomass in entrained-flow reactor. Energy Conversion and Management,151, 426–438.Google Scholar
  48. Mobarak, F. (1983). Rapid continuous pyrolysis of cotton stalks for charcoal production. Holzforschung,37(5), 251–254.Google Scholar
  49. Mobarak, F., Fahmy, Y., & Schweers, W. (1982). Production of phenols and charcoal from bagasse by a rapid continuous pyrolysis process. Wood Science and Technology,16, 59–66.Google Scholar
  50. Morales, S., Miranda, R., Bustos, D., et al. (2014). Solar biomass pyrolysis for the production of bio-fuels and chemical commodities. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis,109, 65–78.Google Scholar
  51. Morozov, A. I. (2013). Introduction to plasma dynamics. Boca Raton: CRC PRESS.Google Scholar
  52. Nzihou, A., Flamant, G., & Stanmore, B. (2012). Synthetic fuels from biomass using concentrated solar energy—A review. Energy,42, 121–131.Google Scholar
  53. Östman, B., & Rydholm, D. (2002). National fire regulations in relation to the use of wood in European and some other countries. Trätek Publication 0212044 57 pp.Google Scholar
  54. Özsin, G., & Pütün, A. E. (2017). Insights into pyrolysis and co-pyrolysis of biomass and polystyrene: Thermochemical behaviors, kinetics and evolved gas analysis. Energy Conversion and Management,149, 675–685.Google Scholar
  55. Piel, A. (2010). Plasma physics: An introduction to laboratory, space, and fusion plasmas. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  56. Pozzobon, V., Salvador, S., Bézian, J. J., et al. (2014). Radiative pyrolysis of wet wood under intermediate heat flux: Experiments and modelling. Fuel Processing Technology,128, 319–330.Google Scholar
  57. REN21 (2014) Renewables 2014 Global status report. energieclimat.Google Scholar
  58. Ringer, M., Putsche, V., & Scahill, J. (2006). Large-scale pyrolysis oil production: A technology assessment and economic analysis. Nrel/Tp-510-37779 1–93.Google Scholar
  59. Tang, L., & Huang, H. (2005). Plasma pyrolysis of biomass for production of syngas and carbon adsorbent. Energy & Fuels,19, 1174–1178.Google Scholar
  60. Tanksale, A., Beltramini, J. N., & Lu, G. M. (2010). A review of catalytic hydrogen production processes from biomass. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,14, 166–182.Google Scholar
  61. Tiilikkala, K., Fagernäs, L., & Tiilikkala, J. (2010). History and Use of Wood Pyrolysis Liquids as Biocide and Plant Protection Product. Open Agric J,4, 111–118.Google Scholar
  62. U.S. Department of Energy. (2013). Today’s hydrogen production industry. Washington DC: Office of Fossil energy. http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/fuels/hydrogen/currenttechnology.shtml.
  63. Varhegyi, G., Jakab, E., & Antal, M. J., Jr. (1994). Is the Broido–Shafizadeh model for cellulose pyrolysis true? Energy & Fuels,8(6), 1345–1352.Google Scholar
  64. Waheed, Q. M. K., & Williams, P. T. (2013). Hydrogen production from high temperature pyrolysis/steam reforming of waste biomass: Rice husk, sugar cane bagasse, and wheat straw. Energy & Fuels,27, 6695–6704.Google Scholar
  65. Walker, P. D. (2000). Essentials of ecology. Oxford: Blackwell Science.Google Scholar
  66. Wang, L., Mu, G., Tian, C., et al. (2013). Porous graphitic carbon nanosheets derived from cornstalk biomass for advanced supercapacitors. Chemsuschem,6, 880–889.Google Scholar
  67. Weldekidan, H., Strezov, V., Kan, T., & Town, G. (2017). Waste to energy conversion of chicken litter through a solar-driven pyrolysis process. Energy & Fuels,32, 4341–4349.Google Scholar
  68. Xie, Q., Addy, M., Liu, S., et al. (2015). Fast microwave-assisted catalytic co-pyrolysis of microalgae and scum for bio-oil production. Fuel,160, 577–582.Google Scholar
  69. Xue, Y., Kelkar, A., & Bai, X. (2015). Catalytic co-pyrolysis of biomass and polyethylene in a tandem micropyrolyzer. Fuel,166, 227–236.Google Scholar
  70. Yin, H., Lu, B., Xu, Y., et al. (2014). Harvesting capacitive carbon by carbonization of waste biomass in molten salts. Environmental Science and Technology,48, 8101–8108.Google Scholar
  71. Zhang, Y., Chen, P., Liu, S., Fan, L., Zhou, N., Min, M., Cheng, Y., Peng, P., Anderson, E., Wang, Y., Wan, Y., Liu. Y., Li, B., & Ruan, R. (2017b). Microwave-assisted pyrolysis of biomass for bio-oil production. In Pyrolysis. London: IntechOpen.  https://doi.org/10.5772/67442.Google Scholar
  72. Zhang, S., Tian, K., Cheng, B. H., & Jiang, H. (2017a). Preparation of N-doped supercapacitor materials by integrated salt templating and silicon hard templating by pyrolysis of biomass wastes. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,5, 6682–6691.Google Scholar
  73. Zhang, W., Yuan, C., Xu, J., & Yang, X. (2015a). Beneficial synergetic effect on gas production during co-pyrolysis of sewage sludge and biomass in a vacuum reactor. Bioresource Technology,183, 255–258.Google Scholar
  74. Zhang, B., Zhong, Z., Ding, K., & Song, Z. (2015b). Production of aromatic hydrocarbons from catalytic co-pyrolysis of biomass and high density polyethylene: Analytical Py-GC/MS study. Fuel,139, 622–628.Google Scholar
  75. Zhao, Z., Huang, H., Wu, C., et al. (2001). Biomass pyrolysis in an argon/hydrogen plasma reactor. Engineering in Life Sciences,1, 197–199.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamer Y. A. Fahmy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yehia Fahmy
    • 1
  • Fardous Mobarak
    • 1
  • Mohamed El-Sakhawy
    • 1
  • Ragab E. Abou-Zeid
    • 1
  1. 1.Cellulose and Paper DepartmentNational Research CenterCairoEgypt

Personalised recommendations