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A review on pyrolysis of biomass constituents: Mechanisms and composition of the products obtained from the conversion of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin

Collard F.X., Blin J.. 2014. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 38 : p. 594-608.

DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2014.06.013

The conversion of biomass by thermochemical means is very promising for the substitution of fossil materials in many energy applications. Given the complexity of biomass the main challenge in its use is to obtain products with high yield and purity. For a better understanding of biomass thermochemical conversion, many authors have studied in TG analyzer or at bed scale the individual pyrolysis of its main constituents (i.e. cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin). Based on these studies, this original work synthesizes the main steps of conversion and the composition of the products obtained from each constituent. Pyrolysis conversion can be described as the superposition of three main pathways (char formation, depolymerization and fragmentation) and secondary reactions. Lignin, which is composed of many benzene rings, gives the highest char yield and its depolymerization leads to various phenols. The depolymerization of the polysaccharides is a source of anhydro-saccharides and furan compounds. The fragmentation of the different constituents and the secondary reactions produce CO, CO2 and small chain compounds. For temperature higher than 500 °C, the residues obtained from the different constituents present a similar structure, which evolves towards a more condensed polyaromatic form by releasing CH4, CO and H2. As the aromatic rings and their substituent composition have a critical influence on the reactivity of pyrolysis products, a particular attention has been given to their formation. Some mechanisms are proposed to explain the formation of the main products. From the results of this study it is possible to predict the reactivity and energy content of the pyrolysis products and evaluate their potential use as biofuels in renewable applications.

Mots-clés : bois; pyrolyse; biomasse; biocarburant; cellulose; hémicellulose; lignine; composition chimique; charbon de bois; cendre; composé phénolique; température; conversion

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