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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 986719, 10 pages
Research Article

Product Characterization and Kinetics of Biomass Pyrolysis in a Three-Zone Free-Fall Reactor

School of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand

Received 19 September 2013; Revised 24 November 2013; Accepted 28 November 2013; Published 4 February 2014

Academic Editor: Deepak Kunzru

Copyright © 2014 Natthaya Punsuwan and Chaiyot Tangsathitkulchai. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pyrolysis of biomass including palm shell, palm kernel, and cassava pulp residue was studied in a laboratory free-fall reactor with three separated hot zones. The effects of pyrolysis temperature (250–1050°C) and particle size (0.18–1.55 mm) on the distribution and properties of pyrolysis products were investigated. A higher pyrolysis temperature and smaller particle size increased the gas yield but decreased the char yield. Cassava pulp residue gave more volatiles and less char than those of palm kernel and palm shell. The derived solid product (char) gave a high calorific value of 29.87 MJ/kg and a reasonably high BET surface area of 200 m2/g. The biooil from palm shell is less attractive to use as a direct fuel, due to its high water contents, low calorific value, and high acidity. On gas composition, carbon monoxide was the dominant component in the gas product. A pyrolysis model for biomass pyrolysis in the free-fall reactor was developed, based on solving the proposed two-parallel reactions kinetic model and equations of particle motion, which gave excellent prediction of char yields for all biomass precursors under all pyrolysis conditions studied.