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International Conference on Technology

Transfer on Renewable Energy

(ICTTRE 2012)

21-22 June 2012, Mauritius

Title: Characterization of Pyrolysis Kinetics for The Use

of Tropical Biomass as Renewable Energy Sources

Authors: Petro Ndalila, Geoffrey R. John, Cuthbert F. Mhilu

• The trend of energy demand in the world is increasing
daily, while the reserve of current supply is nearly
• There are growing efforts to develop alternative,
renewable, sources of energy which are environmental
• Agricultural waste are biomass candidate readily
available in tropical countries with dormant use.
• Agricultural sector in Tanzania generate 12.604 million
tones per annum of biomass waste which are dumped
or open air burnt.
Introduction (cont…)
• The potential renewable source can be
transformed to other form of energy such as bio-
oil, which is environmental friendly.
• Renewable fuels, from biomass can help to
alleviate the dependence on fossil imports via
pyrolysis/gasification process that produce
derived fuel.
• The uncertainties of conversion technologies can
be overcame by characterization of the biomass
feedstocks for establishing their behavior in
thermo chemical conversion.
Pyrolysis Kinetics
• The pyrolysis kinetics of biomass is among the key
parameter to optimize the conversion processes.
• Consider first-order reaction rate of pyrolysis is
performed at a constant heating rate β (K/min),
expressed in this form.
Biomass → Volatilei i = 1, 2, 3, ….., n
( )
Vi * − Vi …………. (1)
Vi * is the ultimate yield of the i-th volatile
Vi is the accumulated amount of evolved volatiles
ki is the rate constant
T is temperature (K)
Pyrolysis Kinetics (cont…)
From Arrhenius equation

ki = Ai exp(− E / (RT )) (2)

E is the activation energy (J/mol)
R is the universal gas constant (J/molK)
A is the frequency factor (s-1).
Pyrolysis Kinetics (cont…)
• Rearrangements the above two equations,
final form allows to determine kinetic
parameters, E and A.
 β   RAi  Ei
ln 2  = ln  − (3)
 Tmax   Ei  RTmax

Tmax -temperature at which no further

decomposition of biomass occurs.
1. Undertaking proximate and ultimate
analysis of the biomass feedstocks.
2. Determination of higher heating value.
3. Thermogravimetric analysis
Results and Discussion
Rice Husks Sugar Bagasse Coffee Husks Sisal Pole

Proximate Analysis (%)

Moisture 8.80 9.00 6.70 10.10
Volatile matter 59.20 80.50 83.20 79.30
Fixed carbon 14.60 16.20 14.30 14.60
Ash 26.20 3.30 2.50 6.10
Ultimate Analysis (%), dry basis
C 45.60 48.10 49.40 47.00
H 4.50 5.90 6.10 6.00
N 0.1 9 0.15 0.81 1.66
O 33.40 42.40 41.20 39.10
Cl 0.08 0.07 0.03 0.05
S 0.02 0.02 0.07 0.13
Higher heating value
13.24 17.33 18.34 17.35
Thermal decomposition results
• Themogravimetric test, done with analyzer (TGA) type
NETZSCH STA 409 PC Luxx, at 5, 10, 20, and 40K/min
heating rate, results are shown in Figure 1-3
• Figure 1 shows TG curves of thermal decomposition
profiles at 10K/min, where all are portioned to three
– Moisture release at 110oC
– Volatiles evolution at 110 to 500oC
– Ash &char above 500oC
• Over all TG profiles, volatile regime has high
proportion of the total decomposed material, where
coffee husks had the highest amount of 88.7%.
Figure 1. TG curves for tropical biomass at 10K/min heating
Kinetic Analysis of Experiment and Results

• For the purpose of kinetic parameters

investigation, DTG curve (Figure 2) at various
heating rates were used to obtain the position
of the peak extreme temperature (Tmax), for
linear plots of ln(β/T2max) vs. 1/Tmax (Figure 3)
which enables to calculate the kinetic
Rice Husks Sisal pole

Sugar bagasse Coffee husks

Figure 2 DTG curves for tropical biomass at various heating rates.

1,62E-03 1,67E-03 1,72E-03 1,77E-03 1,82E-03 1,87E-03







Rice husks Sisal pole Sugar bagasse Coffee husks

y = -22363x + 28.49 y = -22266x + 30.2 y = -44323x + 68.07

R² = 0.992 R² = 0.998 R² = 0.886 y = -24697x + 31.46
R² = 0.992

Figure 3 Linear plot of ln(β/T2max) vs. 1/Tmax

• From ultimate analysis findings, tropical biomass has small
composition of S and N less than 2% wt, which will result to
minimum emissions of SOx and NOx when combusted.
• The TG and proximate analysis, both indicates moisture and
volatiles of all biomass are comparable. The relative high
composition of volatiles indicates the possibility of high yield of
derived fuel with pyrolysis/gasification process.
• From the DTG profiles, the volatiles decomposition temperature
that ranged between 240 – 500oC are within the valid range of
pyrolysis process.
• With reaction rate of first-order, the activation energy were 297.05
kJ/mol for coffee husks, 533.11 kJ/mol for sugar bagasse, 267.81
kJ/mol for sisal pole and 268.98 kJ/mol for rice husks.
• With this findings, the characterized tropical biomasses can be
evoked for pyrolysis processes
Thank you for your attention