Pyrolysis of Wood/Biomass for Bio-oil: A Critical Review
Fast pyrolysis utilizes biomass to produce a product that is used both as an energy source and a feedstock for chemical production. Considerable efforts have been made to convert wood biomass to liquid fuels and chemicals since the oil crisis in mid-1970s. This review focuses on the recent developments in the wood pyrolysis and reports the characteristics of the resulting bio-oils, which are the main products of fast wood pyrolysis. Virtually any form of biomass can be considered for fast pyrolysis. Most work has been performed on wood, because of its consistency and comparability between tests. However, nearly 100 types of biomass have been tested, ranging from agricultural wastes such as straw, olive pits, and nut shells to energy crops such as miscanthus and sorghum. Forestry wastes such as bark and thinnings and other solid wastes, including sewage sludge and leather wastes, have also been studied. In this review, the main (although not exclusive) emphasis has been given to wood. The literature on wood/biomass pyrolysis, both fast and slow, is surveyed and both the physical and chemical aspects of the resulting bio-oils are reviewed. The effect of the wood composition and structure, heating rate, and residence time during pyrolysis on the overall reaction rate and the yield of the volatiles are also discussed. Although very fast and very slow pyrolyses of biomass produce markedly different products, the variety of heating rates, temperatures, residence times, and feedstock varieties found in the literature make generalizations difficult to define, in regard to trying to critically analyze the literature.