The Characterisation and Optimisation of a Biomass Pyrolysis Process

Speaker: Tom Surman, University of Chester
Venue: Microsoft Teams
Date: 20/5/2022 11:30-12:30
Audience: All Welcome!


The growth of diverse, sustainable, renewable energy generation is currently a priority of national and international government. because of both global warming and the finite nature of fossil fuels. Furthermore, waste management is a pressing concern, particularly as the global pollution increases and consumption of goods accelerates. Pyrolysis is considered a versatile solution to both these problems as it can produce low-carbon, or if applied correctly, carbon-negative energy whilst also disposing of anthropogenic waste, by conversion into fuel and added value materials. The main subject of the work is the Pyrochemy system, which is currently in the pilot stage and designed to pyrolyse biomass waste to produce electricity and biochar. Actual and potential feedstock for the Pyrochemy system, and biochar produced from them were analysed and the results are presented. The factory acceptance testing, theoretical mass and energy balance, rudimentary lifecycle assessment, and a techno-economic assessment of a full-scale 250kg/h plant based off factory acceptance data are presented. Although the factory acceptance testing was not completed, and the machine requires some changes, enough data was gathered to produce a mass and energy balance. The LCA estimated a lifetime removal of 15,980TCO2eq over 10 years, for a single 250kg/h machine. Plants of scale 250kg/h, 500kg/h and 1000kg/h were found to have an IRR of 4.41%, 13.66%, and 24.26% respectively indicating that at a larger scale plant PyroGenesys may be able to attract outside investment. Design recommendations to realise the factory acceptance testing of the prototype are provided.

Speaker's Bio

Tom is an MRes student in Chemical Engineering, supervised by John Brammer.

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