Jop Vercruysse


Biomass conversion into fuels and chemicals is gaining importance to diversify energy resources and mitigate global warming. Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of biomass into bio-oil (condensed vapors), char (solid particles), and non-condensable gasses. The focus of fast pyrolysis (500 °C, absence of oxygen) is on maximizing the oil yield, as the bio-oil can be used for the production of chemical building blocks or drop-in biofuels.

The major challenge of biomass fast pyrolysis is to obtain bio-oil with acceptable composition and properties with respect to its end-use. This research focuses on the reactions in the vapor phase before condensation to bio-oil takes place. The primary objective is to obtain a better understanding of the decomposition pathways during the pyrolysis of wood biomass. Generally, a distinction can be made between primary and secondary reactions. Secondary degradation further decomposes the valuable primary intermediates into low-value products. The micropyrolysis setup diminishes secondary reactions and catalysts can be used in two different compositions (in-bed and ex-bed, see Figure) to tailor the process towards valuable products.