Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Franco Berruti

Second Advisor

Dr. Cedric Briens


Biomass pyrolysis is a method of green fuel production, but the process is still unrefined and has a need for further optimization and process exploration. Since the process has many variables, it is important to try and identify and optimize variables which have a large impact on the process and the products.

The first portion of investigation was the steam reforming of the pyrolytic chars from different biomasses to produce a hydrogen-rich gas. Since there is a need to remove the char from the bed (fluidization disruption, reduction in bio-oil yields) and there is currently no continuous char removal system in place for fluidized beds, the biomass feeding is stopped and the char is simply burned at certain intervals. The steam reforming of the chars provides some insight into the amount of hydrogen able to be produced in such situations.

The remaining investigation was involving biomass treatments before pyrolysis. Biomass drying was investigated to see if there is an optimal biomass moisture content which would maximize bio-oil energy yields and improve characteristics. As well, biomass torrefaction as a pyrolysis pre-treatment was investigated to determine an optimal torrefaction temperature which would maximize bio-oil energy yields and characteristics. For both pre-treatment cases, the grinding energy was also considered, since both drying and torrefaction pre-treatments reduce the amount of energy required for com cob grinding.



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