Latest News

Prof. Berruti to give a talk in Heriot-Watt University

Prof. Berruti, from Western Engineering in Ontario and member of Biochar Network, has been invited to give a talk on "Production Of Activated Carbons From Residual Biomass For Environmental Applications" at Heriot-Watt Univeristy in Edinburgh.

The talk will be held at 1:15 pm in room WP 1.10

Recent publication about Biochar Network

"Could biochar be the new black gold?" is the title of a recently published article in the last Issue (43) of Carbon Capture Journal.


Bantrel Award in Design and Industrial Practice

Congratulation to Dr. Ajay Dalai, from University of Saskatchewan, on winning the 2014 Bantrel Award in Design and Industrial Practice.


Slow and Fast Pyrolisis

What is pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is a conversion technology involving the thermal decomposition of organic matter at atmospheric pressure, temperatures ranging from 300 to 600 °C, and in the absence of oxygen. The word is coined from the Greek-derived elements pyro "fire" and lysis "separating". The fragmentation of the biomass molecules generates chemical structures that, upon cooling, result in gaseous products, condensable liquids (bio-oil) and residual solids (bio-carbon). The gas consists mainly of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane, with lower amounts of carbon dioxide and ethane. The bio-oil is a dark, viscous mixture of many chemicals, including acids, aldehydes, ketons, furfural, anhydrosugars, phenolics, and water. The bio-carbon consists of the mineral matter of the original biomass entrapped into a porous carbon structure.

Slow and Fast Pyrolysis: Impact on Product Yields

Slow pyrolysis at low to moderate temperatures (around 300 °C) and long reaction times (up to days) has been used for thousands of years for the conversion of wood into high yields of charcoal (bio-carbon). The slow pyrolysis process generates also lower yields of bio-oil and gaseous products. However, in the past 30 years, fast pyrolysis, carried out at intermediate temperatures (around 500 °C) and very short reaction times (1 to 5 seconds) has become of considerable interest as a method for producing higher yields of bio-oil (normally around 65 wt%) with significantly higher energy density than the original biomass, in addition to bio-carbon (20%) and gas (15%).
Depending on the pyrolysis process and on the biomass material utilized, both the yields as well as the physical and chemical characteristics of the products, and consequently, their performance, vary considerably.

Slow and Fast Pyrolysis: Impact on Bio-Carbon Characteristics

Slow and fast pyrolysis generate solid bio-carbon products with different characteristics, even when produced from the same raw biomass material. The most significant differences include (a) the evolution of the specific surface area resulting from the development of a porous structure during the pyrolysis process, and (b) the average pore size and pore size distribution (i.e. the fraction of micro-pores and meso/macro-pores).