A Novel Approach to Modeling Biomass Pyrolysis in a Fluidized Bed Reactor

Benjamin Caudle, Maximilian B. Gorensek, Chau Chyun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A novel approach to simulating biomass pyrolysis in a fluidized bed of mostly inert material is presented. The bed is assumed to be externally heated, although simulation of autothermal operation with partial oxidation of the products is a future objective. Combining pyrolysis reaction kinetics developed by the CRECK Modeling Group and a previously published component properties model, material and energy balances are closed by tracking the residence time of biomass particles without regard for their exact spatial distribution. The model is used to simulate a pilot-scale fluidized bed pyrolysis process being developed at Iowa State University, and model predictions are compared with experimental results for red oak and corn stover feedstocks. The results are in general agreement, with the model typically predicting more noncondensable gas and less low-boiling liquid products. The differences are ascribed to the limitations of the kinetics model. This model provides a rigorous energy balance for fluidized bed pyrolysis processes that can be incorporated into commercial flowsheet models with the capacity for future addition of partial oxidation reactions and implementation of improved kinetics models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14605-14615
Number of pages11
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 28 2020


  • biomass pyrolysis
  • fluidized bed
  • predictive model
  • pyrolysis process flowsheet simulation
  • reactor model


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