Five Rules for Measuring Biomass Pyrolysis Rates: Pulse-Heated Analysis of Solid Reaction Kinetics of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Saurabh Maduskar, Gregory G. Facas, Costas Papageorgiou, C. Luke Williams, Paul J. Dauenhauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Pyrolytic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass utilizes high temperatures to thermally fragment biopolymers to volatile organic compounds. The complexity of the degradation process includes thousands of reactions through multiple phases occurring in less than a second. In this work, the requirements are established for measuring the reaction kinetics of high temperature (>400 °C) biomass pyrolysis in the absence of heat and mass transfer limitations. Additionally, experimental techniques must heat and cool biomass samples sufficiently fast to elucidate the evolution of reaction products with time while also eliminating a substantial reaction during the heating and cooling phases, preferably by measuring the temperature of the reacting biomass sample directly. These requirements are described with the PHASR (pulse-heated analysis of solid reactions) technique and demonstrated by measuring the time-resolved evolution of six major chemical products from loblolly pine pyrolysis over a temperature range of 400 to 500 °C. Differential kinetics of loblolly pine pyrolysis are measured to determine the apparent activation energy for the formation of six major product compounds including levoglucosan, furfural, and 2-methoxyphenol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1399
Number of pages13
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the US Department of Energy under Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office Contract No. DE-AC07-05ID14517 through a subcontract with Idaho National Laboratory. Biomass samples were provided by the Idaho National Laboratory.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • Biomass
  • Kinetics
  • Lignocellulose
  • Pyrolysis
  • Wood


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