Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 775–787 | Cite as

Upgrading of biomass sourced pyrolysis oil review: focus on co-pyrolysis and vapour upgrading during pyrolysis

  • A. KrutofEmail author
  • K. A. Hawboldt
Review Article


Fast pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO) from lignocellulosic feedstocks has been successfully used as a fuel for boilers in heating applications. However, the oil quality limits application as a transport fuel due in part to the high oxygen and resulting acid content of the pyrolysis oil which complicates storage, handling and use in traditional petroleum based systems. Reduction of the acid or oxygen content can be accomplished via a number of refinery approaches from catalytic upgrading of the liquid post production to co-pyrolysis. While past reviews have focused on catalytic upgrading of the post-production oil, this work compares studies in post-production catalytic processes, in situ and ex situ pyrolysis vapour upgrading and co-pyrolysis. The review includes studies of “natural” additives/catalysts, sourced from waste biomass, as the co-pyrolysis material or catalyst. Additive/catalysts sourced from waste biomass are potentially a more sustainable approach than commercial catalysts. In general, upgrading the liquid post pyrolysis can improve quality; however, the overall oil yield decreases and cost increases due to the additional upgrading step. Co-pyrolysis and/or in and ex situ vapour upgrading during pyrolysis potentially enhance FPBO quality while recovering high-value chemicals.


Pyrolysis bio-oil Oil upgrading Co-pyrolysis Catalytic fast pyrolysis 



Alkali and alkaline Earth metals


American Society of Testing and Materials


Mixtures of benzene, toluene, and the three xylene isomers


Catalytic fast pyrolysis


Empty fruit bunch


Fast pyrolysis bio-oil


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry




Higher heating value




Lower heating value


Molecular weight


Non-condensable pyrolysis gases


Total acid number


Thermogravimetric analysis


Tail gas recycling pyrolysis


Vacuum gas oil


Funding information

We would like to thank BioFuelNet, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Centre for Forest Science and Innovation (CFSI, NL Provincial Government), Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) and the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) who have contributed to funding this research.

Supplementary material

13399_2018_326_MOESM1_ESM.docx (41 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 41 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied SciencesMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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