Bio-Oil Production by Pyrolysis of Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch in Nitrogen and Steam Atmospheres


This work investigated the bio-oil production from oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) by continuous pyrolysis reactor under nitrogen and steam atmospheres as sweeping gas. The study parameters were particle size, biomass feeding rate, reactor temperature, and reactor sweeping gas. The EFB particle ranges were below 500 micrometers, between 500 - 1180 micrometers and 1180 - 2230 micrometers. Feeding rates were 150, 350, and 550 rpm. Both factors were analyzed by single factor ANOVA. Additionally, Box-Behnken design was used to investigate temperature (350oC - 600oC) under the following nitrogen and steam flow rates as sweeping gas: 0, 100, and 200 cm3/min of nitrogen and 0, 9, and 18 cm3/min of steam. The mathematical model from Box-Behnken design succeeded in predicting the optimal conditions for normal and nitrogen atmospheres. A particle size below 1180 μm was determined to be optimal for bio-oil production. In a normal atmosphere or no sweeping gas, the condition was 475oC and 450 rpm of feed rate. The optimal condition for nitrogen atmosphere was 530oC, 450 rpm of feed rate, and 200 cm3/min of nitrogen flow rate. However, steam as sweeping gas caused high uncertainty and the model was unable to predict the optimal conditions accurately. The biooils from normal, nitrogen, steam, and mixed atmospheres were analyzed for general characteristics. NMR and GC-MS were used to analyze chemical compositions in the bio-oils. Relationships between physical and chemical characteristics were determined and discussed.

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Ruengvilairat, P. , Tanatavikorn, H. and Vitidsant, T. (2012) Bio-Oil Production by Pyrolysis of Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch in Nitrogen and Steam Atmospheres. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 2, 75-85. doi: 10.4236/jsbs.2012.24011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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