Design and commissioning of a continuous isothermal fast pyrolysis reactor
Glauber, Samuel Melville
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In order to meet growing demands for alternatives to fossil fuels, biomass pyrolysis is a method that has been explored in depth as a method to develop new liquid fuels. Fast pyrolysis is a subtype of pyrolysis reaction in which a specimen is heated at rates in excess of 10C/s in an oxygen-free environment, causing the specimen to thermally degrade and release a volatile bio-oil. The goal of this thesis is to design and commission a novel reactor for the continuous isothermal fast pyrolysis of ground biomass. The reactor design utilizes a vibrating plate heated to a set pyrolysis temperature. Analytical and empirically-derived vibratory transport models are presented for ground Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) to assist in setting the desired pyrolysis reaction time. A condenser system was designed to rapidly evacuate and chill the volatiles to prevent tar formation and secondary reactions. Commissioning tests were run at a pair of temperatures and biomass residence times to determine the degree of agreement between the reactor yields and two-component volatile formation data derived from batch fast pyrolysis of Pinus taeda.