Biomass Pyrolysis and Optimisation for Bio-bitumen
Thesis DisciplineChemical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
Biomass waste has been recognised as a promising, renewable source for future transport fuels. With 1.7 million hectares of pine plantation forests and 12 million cubic meters of annual residue produced by sawmills and the pulp and paper industries, New Zealand presents a prime location where utilisation of these resources can take the next step towards creating a more environmentally friendly future. In this research, the process of fast pyrolysis was investigated using a laboratoryscale, nitrogen-blown fluidised bed pyrolyser at CRL Energy. This equipment can process 1–1.5 kg/h of woody biomass in a temperature range of 450–550°C. The purpose of this rig was to determine the impact of various processing parameters on bio-oil yields. Next, the pyrolysis liquids (bio-oil and tar) were processed downstream into bio-bitumen. Pyrolysis experiments were carried out on Pinus Radiata and Eucalyptus Nitens residue sawdust from sawmills and bark feedstock. The properties of the collected products, including pyrolysis liquids (bio-oil and tar), gas and solid bio-chars, were measured under different operational conditions. Further analysis was also performed to determine pH, volatile content, chemical composition and calorific values of the products. The ultimate goal for this project was to develop a feasible, advanced fast-pyrolysis system for a bio-bitumen production plant using various biomass feedstocks. Additionally, a design for a bio-bitumen production plant was developed, and techno-economic analysis was conducted on a number of plant production yield cases and bio-bitumen manufacture ratios.