The effect of lignin and inorganic species in biomass on pyrolysis oil yields, quality and stability

R. Fahmi, Anthony V. Bridgwater, Iain S. Donnison, Nicola Yates, J.M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates four reference fuels and three low lignin Lolium Festuca grasses which were subjected to pyrolysis to produce pyrolysis oils. The oils were analysed to determine their quality and stability, enabling the identification of feedstock traits which affect oil stability. Two washed feedstocks were also subjected to pyrolysis to investigate whether washing can enhance pyrolysis oil quality. It was found that the mineral matter had the dominate effect on pyrolysis in compared to lignin content, in terms of pyrolysis yields for organics, char and gases. However the higher molecular weight compounds present in the pyrolysis oil are due to the lignin derived compounds as determined by results of GPC and liquid-GC/MS. The light organic fraction also increased in yield, but reduced in water content as metals increased at the expense of the lignin content. It was found that the fresh oil and aged oil had different compound intensities/concentrations, which is due to a large number of reactions occurring when the oil is aged day by day. These findings agree with previous reports which suggest that a large amount of re-polymerisation occurs as levoglucosan yields increase during the aging progress, while hydroxyacetaldehyde decrease. In summary the paper reports a window for producing a more stable pyrolysis oil by the use of energy crops, and also show that washing of biomass can improve oil quality and stability for high ash feedstocks, but less so for the energy crops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1230-1240
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • lignin
  • alkali metals
  • pyrolysis stability
  • chemical engineering
  • bioenergy


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