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Bio-oil production from fast pyrolysis of waste furniture sawdust in a uidized bed

Hyeon Su Heo
, Hyun Ju Park
, Young-Kwon Park
, Changkook Ryu
, Dong Jin Suh
Young-Woong Suh
, Jin-Heong Yim
, Seung-Soo Kim
Faculty of Environmental Engineering, University of Seoul, 90 Jeonnong-Dong, Seoul 130-743, Republic of Korea
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 440-734, Republic of Korea
Clean Energy Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1 Hawolgok-Dong, Seoul 136-791, Republic of Korea
Division of Advanced Materials Engineering, Kongju National University, Gongju 314-701, Republic of Korea
Department of Chemical Engineering, Kangwon National University, Samcheok 245-711, Republic of Korea
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 31 October 2008
Received in revised form 30 May 2009
Accepted 3 June 2009
Available online 27 June 2009
Waste furniture
Fast pyrolysis
Fluidized bed
a b s t r a c t
The amount of waste furniture generated in Korea was over 2.4 million tons in the past 3 years, which can
be used for renewable energy or fuel feedstock production. Fast pyrolysis is available for thermo-chem-
ical conversion of the waste wood mostly into bio-oil. In this work, fast pyrolysis of waste furniture saw-
dust was investigated under various reaction conditions (pyrolysis temperature, particle size, feed rate
and ow rate of uidizing medium) in a uidized-bed reactor. The optimal pyrolysis temperature for
increased yields of bio-oil was 450 C. Excessively smaller or larger feed size negatively affected the pro-
duction of bio-oil. Higher ow and feeding rates were more effective for the production of bio-oil, but did
not greatly affect the bio-oil yields within the tested ranges. The use of product gas as the uidizing med-
ium had a potential for increased bio-oil yields.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
The biodegradable fractions in wastes like paper, wood, and
food residue are important sources of biomass for renewable-en-
ergy production through thermal or biological conversion. While
direct combustion is the dominant method applied to mixed
wastes, specic streams of industrial wastes with high energy con-
tent could be converted into fuel feedstock using advanced tech-
niques, such as pyrolysis and gasication. One example of such
materials is waste furniture, of which over 2.4 million tons were
generated in Korea in the past 3 years (Yoo, 2008). Although the
wood in waste furniture could have been treated with paint, sur-
face coating, or pesticides, unlike fresh wood or forestry residues,
it usually contains less moisture and is available for pyrolysis
and gasication after size reduction.
Fast pyrolysis is an attractive technology for biomass, from
which bio-oil is the preferred product having a great potential
for use as fuel oil in industry, or as transport fuel. Fast pyrolysis re-
fers to pyrolysis at temperatures of about 500 C, with very high
heating rates (>10
C/s) and a short vapor residence time (<2 s),
which can maximize the conversion of biomass into liquid (bio-
oil) products. Many researchers have investigated the fast pyroly-
sis of different biomass materials in different reactor systems.
The yield of bio-oil is as high as 80 wt.% of the biomass input
(Bridgwater, 1999), and its heating value is lower, ranging from
14 to 18 MJ/kg (Lu et al., 2009). Chiaramonti et al. (2007) reviewed
the use of fast pyrolysis oil for power generation in gas turbines,
diesel engines, and large-scale power plants by coring. Although
there are difculties due to the nature of the oil, such as inhomo-
geneity, high viscosity, and corrosiveness, no major technical prob-
lems have been identied, especially for coring at power plants.
The biomass type for typical pyrolysis studies has been woody
materials, but recent studies have reported fast pyrolysis for vari-
ous agricultural wastes, such as corn, sunower, olive, straw, and
rice husk (Yanik et al., 2007; Zabaniotou et al., 2008; Zheng,
2007; Tsai et al., 2007; Lu et al., 2008). Few studies, however, have
reported on the fast pyrolysis of waste wood, such as post-con-
sumed furniture, while many have reported on the slow pyrolysis
(Helsen et al., 1998; Phan et al., 2008) and thermogravimetric
analysis (Reina et al., 1998).
In the present study, fast pyrolysis of waste furniture sawdust
was carried out in a uidized bed to evaluate the technical feasi-
bility of applying this technology to waste furniture. The key
pyrolysis parameters, such as the reaction temperature, feed size,
ow rate, feeding rate, and uidizing medium, were varied, and
the product yields and the properties of the bio-oils were
0960-8524/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
* Corresponding authors. Tel.: +82 2 2210 5623; fax: +82 2 2244 2245 (Y.-K.
Park), tel.: +82 31 299 4841; fax: +82 31 290 5889 (C. Ryu).
E-mail addresses: (Y.-K. Park), (C. Ryu).
Bioresource Technology 101 (2010) S91S96
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
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j our nal homepage: www. el sevi er . com/ l ocat e/ bi or t ech
2. Experimental methods
2.1. Feedstock
A waste furniture sawdust sample was supplied by a waste
wood treatment facility in Korea. Table 1 presents the results of
the ultimate and proximate analyses of the sawdust sample. Ulti-
mate analysis was carried out using an automatic elemental ana-
lyzer (Flash EA 1112 Series CHNS-O analyzer, CE Instrument) and
proximate analysis was performed according to Korean Standard
Methods of Waste Quality. Each test case was repeated in triplicate
and the average results were taken. The proximate analysis results
are shown on an ash-free basis because the waste furniture saw-
dust sample was contaminated with a signicant amount of soil
and sand. Before the experiments, the waste furniture sawdust
was dried in an oven at 110 C for 24 h to reduce the amount of
water in the oil product. After the drying procedure, the water con-
tent in the sawdust sample was found to be <1 wt.%. Therefore, the
results are presented in this paper on a dry basis.
2.2. Pyrolysis apparatus
The fast pyrolysis of waste furniture sawdust was carried out in
a uidized-bed reactor. Fig. 1 shows a schematic diagram of the
pyrolysis apparatus that was used. The reactor was made from
an SUS 306 stainless-steel pipe, and its internal diameter and
height were 80 and 300 mm, respectively. The main reactor and
feed gas were heated electrically. The temperature of the experi-
mental system was adjusted using a PID temperature controller
and was monitored using a K-type thermocouple. The errors in
the average reaction temperature were within 5 C. An electric
heating tape that was capable of heating up to 450 C was used
to avoid vapor condensation in the product gas stream tube. The
condensable phase (bio-oil) of the pyrolysis vapor was collected
using a series of glass condensers that maintained a low tempera-
ture of 25 C, using a circulator (RW-2025G, JEIO TECH), with
ethyl alcohol used as the cooling solvent. The noncondensable va-
pors leaving the condensation system were passed through an
electrostatic precipitator before extraction, to recover the tar. The
vapors were also sampled into sampling bags every 20 min to ana-
lyze their composition.
2.3. Pyrolysis conditions
In the uidized-bed reactor, 1000 g of Emery [Al
ABRASIVES, Japan)] with a mean particle size of 40 lm was used
as the bed material. The experiments were carried out with the
gas velocities above the minimum-bubbling uidizing velocity
), which was estimated to be 0.6 cm/s using Geldart and Abra-
hamsens equation (Abrahamsen and Geldart, 1980). The reactor
system was purged with inert nitrogen gas, which was also used
as the uidizing medium, for approximately 3 h before the exper-
iments were started. To decrease the heat loss during the experi-
ments, the uidizing gas was preheated to 350 C before being
introduced to the reactor. Once the reactor reached the target tem-
perature, the screw feeder was turned on to continuously feed
sawdust into the bed, with xed mass ow rates ranging from
1.5 to 2.5 g/min. The total amount of sawdust fed in each test case
was approximately 150 g. Each test case lasted for about 75
100 min.
Table 2 lists the different pyrolysis conditions for each experi-
ment. The particle sizes were the average taken from the mesh
sizes of the sieves that were used; 0.3 mm (0.20.425 mm),
0.7 mm(0.4251.0 mm), and 1.3 mm (1.01.6 mm). Runs 14 were
conducted to investigate the effect of the pyrolysis temperature,
which ranged from 400 to 550 C. The uidizing gas (N
at 5 l/
min), feed rate (2.5 g/min), and sawdust particle size (0.7 mm)
were xed during the tests. In Runs 5 and 6, the particle size was
varied to 0.3 and 1.3 mm, respectively, while the temperature
was xed at 450 C. The gas ow rate was lowered to 3 and 4 l/
min in Runs 7 and 8, respectively, mainly to increase the residence
time of the pyrolysis vapors. The feed rate was decreased to 1.5 g/
min in Run 9. In Run 10, the product gas consisting mainly of CO
and CO at the downstream of the electrostatic precipitator was
recirculated into the bed as uidizing gas, completely replacing
the nitrogen gas. Each test case was repeated in triplicate, and
the variations in the product yields were less than 3 wt.% which
was considered satisfactory for this study. Therefore, the average
values were taken for the product yields.
2.4. Product analysis
After each test, the char was separated from the bed and the cy-
clone to determine its yield. The pyrolysis gases at the downstream
of the electrostatic precipitator were analyzed using a GC-TCD and
GC-FID (ACME 6000, Young Lin Instruments Co., Ltd.), with the Car-
boxen 1000 (15 ft 1/8 in.) and HP-plot Al
/KCl columns,
respectively. Table 3 lists the analysis methods for the GC. Using
the accumulated ow rate and the composition of the gas, its mass
yield was determined.
The bio-oil was collected from the condensers and the electro-
static precipitator. Since the viscous organic fraction in the electro-
static precipitator was very difcult to fully separate, the oil yield
was calculated by difference, using the char and gas yields. The
bio-oil that was produced was in a heterogeneous state, with aque-
ous and heavy organic fractions. Both the chemical and physical
analyses of the bio-oil, however, were required to be in the homo-
geneous state. To acquire representative samples, two bio-oil
Table 1
Ultimate and proximate analyses of the waste furniture sawdust.
Ultimate analysis
Proximate analysis
Component Content (wt.%) Component Content (wt.%)
C 49.1 Moisture 9.1
H 6.2
N 3.0 Combustibles 91.9
S Ash
On ash-free basis.
Calculated by difference.
Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of fast pyrolysis apparatus.
S92 H.S. Heo et al. / Bioresource Technology 101 (2010) S91S96
samples were taken from the 1020 vol.% parts of the top and
bottom sections after sufcient stirring, respectively. Subsequent
analytical work was done in triplicate for each sample, and the
mean values of the individual results were taken. Since accurate
quantitative analyses of bio-oil were difcult to conduct using
the existing gas chromatography equipment, the area% of the
GCMS chromatogram was considered a good approximation be-
cause it indicates the amount of the various chemical compounds
in the bio-oil (Samolada et al., 2000; Zheng, 2007). In this study,
both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the bio-oil were
performed using GCMS (HP 5973 inert) with an HP-5MS
(30 m 0.25 mm 0.25 lm) capillary column and with helium
as the carrier gas. Table 3 also presents the analysis methods for
the GCMS. The mass spectra that were obtained by GCMS were
interpreted through an automatic library search. The water content
of the bio-oil was measured using the ASTM E 203 method. A Karl
Fischer titrator (Metrohm 787 KF Titrino) was used, and HYDRAN-
AL Composite 5K (Riedel-de Haen) and HYDRANAL Working Med-
ium K (Riedel-de Haen) were used as the titration reagent and
titration solvent, respectively. The errors of the above analyses
were less than 1%.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Effects of the pyrolysis conditions on the product distribution
Fig. 2 shows the product distribution as a function of the pyro-
lysis temperature for Runs 14. As the pyrolysis progressed when
the temperature was increased, the char yield decreased from
about 35.8% at 400 C to 21.3% at 550 C, releasing more pyrolysis
vapors. The bio-oil yield, which was the condensable phase of the
pyrolysis vapors, maximized to 58.1% at 450 C and decreased at
the higher temperatures. This was due to the secondary reactions
of the heavy-molecular-weight compounds in the pyrolysis vapors,
which is known to become active at temperatures over 500 C
(Evans and Milne, 1987). The temperature at the peak of the bio-
oil yield (450 C) was slightly lower than the typical ranges of
500520 C for wood biomass (Scott and Piskorz, 1984; Bridgwater,
1999). The maximum bio-oil yield of 57.0% was comparable to
other studies, such as 67% for waste wood with a moisture content
of 7.5% and a residence time of about 2.5 s (Horne and Williams,
1996, Fuel). Note that the moisture content of the sawdust in this
study was less than 1%. Tests on maple, which has a much shorter
residence time (0.5 s), reported over 80% of the oil yield at 500 C
(Scott et al., 1988).
Fig. 3 presents the gas composition at different pyrolysis tem-
peratures. CO
was the dominant gas product at 400 C, but the
secondary reactions of the pyrolysis vapor as well as the further
progress of the pyrolysis in the solid led to a rapid increase in
the gas yield, especially for the CO and light hydrocarbons, at tem-
peratures over 500 C. The gas composition at 450 C was 28.0% CO,
62.3% CO
, and 9.7% light hydrocarbons (C
When testing the effect of the gas ow rate on the product dis-
tribution, the bio-oil yield decreased from 57.0% at 5 l/min (Run 2)
to 53.0% at 3 l/min (Run 7) while the char yield remained unaf-
fected. The residence time of the pyrolysis vapors is another impor-
tant factor that determines the time available for vapor phase
reactions, affecting the gas and bio-oil yields. At lower gas ow
Table 2
Pyrolysis conditions.
Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 Run 5 Run 6 Run 7 Run 8 Run 9 Run 10
Reaction temperature (C) 400 450 500 550 450 450 450 450 450 450
Fluidizing medium
Feed size (mm) 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.3 1.3 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
Gas ow rate (L/min) 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 4 5 5
Feed rate (g/min) 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 1.5 2.5
Input (g) 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150 150
N: nitrogen, P: product gas.
Table 3
Analysis conditions of GCMS, GC-TCD and GC-FID.
Analysis Test conditions
GCMS Column type: capillary column (HP-5MS, 5% phenyl-methylpolysiloxane), 30 0.25 mm ID
Injector temperature: 280 C
Oven temperature: 40 C held for 5 min 40295 C at 5 C/10 min 295 C held for 20 min
GC-TCD Column: Carboxen 1000, 15 ft 1/8 in.
Injector and detector temperature: 150 C
Oven temperature: 150 C held for 20 min 150225 C at 20 C/min 225 C held for 10 min
GC-FID Column: HP-plot Al
/KCL, 50 m 0.322 mm 8.0 lm
Injector temperature: 200 C, detector temperature: 250 C
Oven temperature: 40 C for 4 min 40160 C at 4 C/min 160200 C at 2 C/min 200 C held for 20 min
Temperature (
350 400 450 500 550 600

Fig. 2. Product distribution as a function of pyrolysis temperature: at a feed size of
0.7 mm, ow rate of 5 L/min, feeding rate of 2.5 g/min and in a nitrogen
H.S. Heo et al. / Bioresource Technology 101 (2010) S91S96 S93
rates, the residence time of the vapors in the reactor increases,
which supports the possibility of secondary reactions such as ther-
mal cracking, repolymerization, and recondensation, leading to a
decrease in the bio-oil yield. In the tests, the vapors consist of u-
idizing gas (N
) and pyrolysis vapors. At the sawdust feeding rate
of 2.5 g/min, the release rate of the condensable/noncondensable
pyrolysis vapors became about 0.03 g/s, which is much lower than
that of nitrogen (0.0570.094 g/s). Therefore, the inuence of the
nitrogen ow rate is dominant for the vapor residence time. Note
that the pyrolysis vapors contain very heavy molecules, and that
the corresponding average density would thus be much larger than
that of nitrogen. At 450 C, the vapor residence time was expected
to increase from about 4.3 to 6.6 s when the nitrogen ow rate de-
creased from 5 to 3 l/min.
Particle size is another parameter that affects product distribu-
tion. When the particle size of sawdust was increased to 1.3 mm,
the bio-oil yield decreased by about 5% to 53% while the char yield
increased by 3%. This is related mainly to the heating rate of a par-
ticle. A larger particle heats up more slowly and therefore releases
less volatile matter, with more char produced. With a particle size
of 0.3 mm, both the bio-oil yield and the char yield decreased by
about 3% while the gas yield became 20.5% from 13.3% at a particle
size of 0.7 mm. This can be attributed to the overheating of the
smaller particles, followed by the conversion of the vapors into
gas (Islam et al., 1999).
In the product yields at two different fuel feed rates (Runs 2 and
9), the feed rate of 1.5 g/min (Run 9) yielded about 3 wt.% less bio-
oil while the char yield remained unaffected. This can be inter-
preted as the effect of the residence time. The reduced volume of
the pyrolysis vapors due to the lowered feed rate increased the res-
idence time of the vapors in the reactor, which led to more vapor
phase reactions of the condensable compounds yielding lighter
gas molecules.
Fig. 4 compares the product distribution as a function of the u-
idizing medium. Interestingly, the bio-oil yield increased to a max-
imum of 66 wt.% when the product gas that evolved during
pyrolysis was utilized as the uidizing medium. The product gas
consisted of 29.2 wt.% CO, 60.7 wt.% CO
, and 10.1 wt.% hydrocar-
bons (C
), which was similar to those for Run 2 at the same
temperature on a nitrogen-free basis. At this point, the inuence
of the composition of the uidizing medium on the pyrolysis
behavior is not fully understood. When using the product gas as
a uidizing agent, however, a reaction between the components
of the product gas and the pyrolysis vapor in the reactor could oc-
cur. There are some reports that using product gas as a uidizing
agent also resulted in higher bio-oil yields (Park et al., 2008,
2009; Jung et al., 2008). In Scott and Piskorzs study (1984), in-
creased oil yield (by about 5%) were noticed in the product yields
of poplar in pilot tests using product gas recycle, compared to
the results of bench scale tests using nitrogen as uidizing med-
ium. However, it is hard to conclude that the increased oil yield
is related to the product gas recycle due to the differences in the
particle sizes tested and process conguration between the bench
scale and pilot tests. Further investigations are required on the ef-
fect of product gas recycle.
3.2. Characteristics of bio-oil
The pyrolysis temperature was the most important parameter
affecting the characteristics of the bio-oil. The water content was
signicantly affected by the pyrolysis temperature, as shown in
Table 4. The obtained water content in the bio-oils varied from
40 to 60 wt.% as the temperature increased, while the yield of
water varied from 21 to 28 wt.% of the original sawdust. Since
waste furniture has various additives, such as adhesive, coating
material, and dyes, the resulting bio-oil composition may be some-
what different from that of fresh wood. For the pyrolysis liquids
obtained from three different sewage sludge samples, each water
content (27.2, 44.5, and 46.6 wt.%) depended on the organic com-
position of the sewage sludge samples (Fonts et al., 2009). More-
over, for the bio-oil produced from Quercus Acutissima, the
water contents were within the range of 31.662.4% (Lee et al.,
2008), which was similar to the results obtained in this study.
Luo et al. (2004) also reported that water content of 53.5 wt.%
was obtained for rice straw. Therefore, the high water content in
this study may have come from the various organic additives of
waste furniture. The water content of the bio-oil that was pro-
duced at 450 C, with changes in the other operating parameters
(Runs 510), remained almost constant at 4346 wt.%.
Fig. 5 shows the four main categories of the major oil com-
pounds identied for Runs 14 (temperature: 400550 C) and
Run 10, based on the area of the GCMS chromatograms. There is
Temperature (
350 400 450 500 550 600


C1-C4 gases
Fig. 3. Product gas composition for different pyrolysis temperatures (Runs 14).
Fluidizing medium
Nitrogen Product gas

Fig. 4. Product distribution as a function of uidizing medium: at a pyrolysis
temperature of 450 C, a feed size of 0.7 mm, feeding rate of 2.5 g/min, ow rate of
5 L/min.
Table 4
Water content in bio-oils obtained under different pyrolysis temperatures.
Pyrolysis temperature (C) 400 450 500 550
Water content in bio-oil (wt.%) 40.2 45.2 51.0 60.0
Yield of water in product (wt.%) 20.9 26.3 27.9 26.2
S94 H.S. Heo et al. / Bioresource Technology 101 (2010) S91S96
a clear trend of changes in the oil compounds with an increase in
temperature. The amounts of acids like acetic acid and benzoic acid
rapidly increased with increasing temperatures up to 500 C. The
oil became rapidly less oxygenated at temperatures above 500 C
as the secondary decomposition of the pyrolysis vapors became ac-
tive. The amounts of phenolics were high at 400 and 550 C as
there was a gradual decrease in the amount of most of the phenolic
compounds, while certain compounds (phenol, 2&3-methyl-phe-
nol, and 1,2-benzedediol) rapidly increased with increasing tem-
perature. The formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
(PAHs), including naphthalene, 1-methyl-naphthalene, acenaph-
thylene and anthracene, was observed at 550 C. This is consistent
with the literature (Tsai et al., 2007) that temperatures above
550 C are favorable in the successive aromatization reactions,
such as the cracking of the light organics, oligomerization, cycliza-
tion, hydrogen or hydride transfer, and aromatization. The pres-
ence of PAHs raises concerns about the health impacts of bio-oil
due to their carcinogenic potentials, which can be avoided by
maintaining the pyrolysis temperature below 550 C.
Table 5 lists the major compounds in the bio-oil obtained from
Run 10. The major compounds that were identied in the bio-oil
were phenolics, including phenol, cresols, guaiacols, and benzendi-
ols, as well as acetic acid and ketones. Interestingly, the amount of
acids increased to 30% (of which 72% corresponded to acetic acid)
when the pyrolysis temperature was raised to 500 C, and was
much higher than in the case of pure woody biomass. This can
be attributed to the reaction of the formaldehydes in the dyes or
adhesives that were used to coat the furniture, but this explanation
needs conrmation through further investigation.
4. Conclusions
Fast pyrolysis of sawdust from waste furniture was investigated
using a small uidized-bed reactor for different temperatures, ow
rates of uidizing agent and particle sizes. The optimal pyrolysis
temperature for the production of bio-oil from waste furniture
sawdust was found to be 450 C, with a particle size of 0.7 mm. A
higher gas ow and higher feeding rates were found to be more
favorable for the production of bio-oil due to the reduced vapor
residence times. The use of the noncondensable product gas as
the uidizing medium was found to have a potential for increasing
the production of bio-oil, maximizing the bio-oil yield at about
65 wt.%.
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Fig. 5. Changes in the four categories of major oil compounds identied for Runs 1
4 and 10.
Table 5
Main compounds identied in bio-oil obtained through the experiment Run 10.
Compound Area (%)
Acetic acid 13.7
Pyrazine 0.5
Cyclopentanone 0.3
2-Furanmethanol 1.5
2-Methyl-2-cyclopenten-1-one 0.6
2(5H)-Furanone 2.2
5-Methyl-2(5H)-furanone 0.3
3-Methyl-2-cyclopenten-1-one 0.6
Phenol 0.7
2-Hydroxy-3-methyl-2-cyclopenten-1-one 2.4
2-Methyl-phenol 0.3
Benzoic acid 2.2
2-Methoxy- phenol 1.1
3-Hydroxy-2-methyl-4H-pyran-4-one 0.4
3-Ethyl-2-hydroxy-2-cyclopenten-1-one 0.3
2-Methoxy-4-methyl- phenol 0.7
2-Methoxy-4-vinylphenol 1.3
2,6-Dimethoxy-phenol 0.5
2-Methoxy-4-(1-propenyl)-phenol 2.4
2-Methyl-1H-Isoindole-1,3(2H)-dione 1.1
1H-Isoindole-1,3(2H)-dione 3.2
1-(4-Hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-ethanone 1.6
4-Vinyl-2-methoxy-phenol 0.2
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 1.7
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