Characterisation of waste derived intermediate pyrolysis oils for use as diesel engine fuels

Y. Yang, J.G. Brammer, M. Ouadi, J. Samanya, A. Hornung, H.M. Xu, Y. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies the characteristics of intermediate pyrolysis oils derived from sewage sludge and de-inking sludge (a paper industry residue), with a view to their use as fuels in a diesel engine. The feedstocks were dried and pelletised, then pyrolysed in the Pyroformer intermediate pyrolysis system. The organic fraction of the oils was separated from the aqueous phase and characterised. This included elemental and compositional analysis, heating value, cetane index, density, viscosity, surface tension, flash point, total acid number, lubricity, copper corrosion, water, carbon residue and ash content. Most of these results are compared with commercial diesel and biodiesel. Both pyrolysis oils have high carbon and hydrogen contents and their higher heating values compare well with biodiesel. The water content of the pyrolysis oils is reasonable and the flash point is found to be high. Both pyrolysis oils have good lubricity, but show some corrosiveness. Cetane index is reduced, which may influence ignition. Also viscosity is increased, which may influence atomisation quality. Carbon residue and ash content are both high, indicating potential deposition problems. Compared with de-inking sludge pyrolysis oil (DSPO), sewage sludge pyrolysis oil (SSPO) has a higher heating value, but higher corrosiveness and viscosity. The conclusions are that both intermediate pyrolysis oils will be able to provide sufficient heat when used in diesel engine; however poor combustion and carbon deposition may be encountered. Blending of these pyrolysis oils with diesel or biodiesel could overcome these problems and is recommended for further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
Issue numberSpecial issue
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • sewage sludge
  • de-inking sludge
  • intermediate pyrolysis
  • renewable energy
  • bio-oil


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