Fast pyrolysis of biomass for building smaller gasifiers?

link to academic paper

All gasifiers designed and built before WW2 are “slow pyrolysis” , rather than “fast pyrolysis” researched since the 1990s.
fast pyrolysis use:
small (<1mm diameter) biomass granulate,
rapid increase of temperature (>100K per minute), usually in a fluidized bed,
and fast removal and cooldown of pyrolysis gas, to drive the chemical balance to the depolymerization size.

The paper claims fast pyrolysis generate more liquid fuel than slow pyrolysis.

I believe the advantage of fast pyrolysis on vehicular wood gasifier is the potential of smaller reactor size. The current wood gasifiers are too large and tall for small cars with gasoline engines.

I wish we can have a fast pyrolysis design that can completely decompose wood into engine fuel in a less than 10 minutes, so the reactor only need about 4 lbs of biomass inside it at any given time.


The WK gasifer is not what I would call a slow pyrolysis. I can put raw wood the size of my fist and down to smaller pieces into my hopper. My hopper holds around 50 lbs. of wood. Drive down the road at 65 to 70 mph. The wood will be fully pyrolysis and pass though the fire tube turned to ash and charcoal popcorn size fines. This will happen in about 40 mile trip in the truck running the engine only on wood gas no petroleum fuel used.
I would say this is some pretty fast pyrolysis wood, around 30 minutes in time.
Now if we could get the size of the gasifer, hay filter, drop box, cooling rails , condensation tank, and water/tar condensation tank reduced in size and still be able to run a V-8 engine 318 or larger that would be great.
If you are not a premium member yet then join up, then you could look at some of the WK gasifer builds on the premium part of this DOW site.
There are a lot of innovative people working on what you are talking about on this site. Become a premium member.


I have seen almost nothing for micro scale fast pyrolysis. In fact, I don’t think I have seen anything. The fluidized bed requires energy to maintain and favors larger systems because of heat retention.

It is interesting, but It probably wont fit in a truck either. It is using updraft and requires filtering to get the fluidizing medium, which is usually sand out to go back into the bed. But the big killer is they like a continuous flow, and stopping/start cycles in a vehicle would play major havoc to the system because it relies on the heated bed to sustain the reaction.

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The fast pyrolysis he is referring to is taking a piece of sawdust and doing it instantly. Basically you heat up a bunch of sand by blowing hot air through it from underneath, the sand engulfs the sawdust, then the heat from the sand pyrolizes the sawdust instantly.

It does change the chemistry of the reaction and the outputs. I haven’t seen anyone pull it off for a small scale system. Even the ones in labs I don’t think are necessarily net positive energy.

Usually when they say “small scale” referring to a bubbling fluidized bed reactor it is the size of a smallish house.

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Welcome back from wherever you have been SeanO.
I’ve missed your insights.
And I am sure others missed you direct to the points way of expressing yourself.

Cow Dog in the time frame between to WWII era and the early 1990’s woodgasing for on vehicle advanced by 2X to 3x capability. And durability. Swedish and Finnish advances in hearths, filtering and full use of acid-proof and stainless steels.
Since the 1990’s woodgasing for vehicles has advanced at least another 2X-3X in capability. Adapting actually easier to the then in full useage of vehicle gasoline electronic fuel injection systems. Private Finnish and American developments. Now private developments in many other countries represented here on the DOW.
And these advancements have been used in two ways. The larger V-8 vehicles now keeping up with modern highway speeds and being full Urban capable useable.
The smaller engined 4 cylinder vehicles now able to go completely nearly stealth use capable. With everything inside the trunk enclosed, underneath, and within the engine compartment…
So those woodgas apples have matured quite well.

When a “possibility” is University Lab proposed and after 30 years is still stuck in the Lab . . . that means it cannot transition past real practical use necessities. The lemon stuck as a lemon.
It did not get left there because of suppression.
Things happen in the real world by dedicated interest generating the funding to push forward into practical everyday usages. Hey lets make lemon-aid drinks. Hey lets make microwave radar ovens.
Still . . . .throw all the funding you want at it . . . . all the interest at it you want . . . if in comparison to the current in-use . . . .it does not stand out . . . it will get left behind.
Only so many folk will buy into the newest, greatest, latest wowser, woo-woo. Fewer yet maintain interest once the woo-woo wears thin. And practical necessities show it to not stand out against the current in-use. Different? Sure. Better overall, not. Flying cars. Swimming tracked and wheeled vehicles. Three wheeled vehicles. Late 80’s talking cars . . “your door is ajar, your door is ajar, your door is ajar”
Hey. I can still find you a Wankel or two to play with if you wish. A few Beta-max’s floating around too. Their tapes are pretty ragged now. How about the big record sized video player discs from the early 1990’s? And my 1990’s Motorola digital flip phone will still charge up it’s 20 minute talk-time Nicad battery. Power up and go where? Nowhere. Left behind.

Steve Unruh


3) Trash-powered cars


In the closing scenes of the original Back to the Future , Doc Brown appears to use actual garbage as fuel for the flying DeLorean.

While some of today’s cars may come equipped with phone control and be 3D-printed, none are being manufactured with the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor yet. So finish that can of beer; your car still needs to run on overpriced gasoline.

All Power Labs uses the same symbol as Mr. Fusion ?


Hey I and others are using wood trash to power our vehicles, does that count.


I have an allpowerlabs power pallet . I built two charcoal gasifiers from junk . The charcoal gasifier needs less effort to run then Mr. Fusion . Making charcoal is hard . Still in process for lowering expectations for allpowerlabs power pallet .


Thank you. Glad to be back. It isn’t anything personal. :slight_smile:

Your post reminded me I forgot to mention, you can do fast pyrolysis with microwaves. :slight_smile:


I’ve been around a couple of systems that generated a LOT of “liquid”. One chemist said it was pretty toxic though he didn’t elaborate what components. That chemist gave me a few gallons to play with as I was also doing biodiesel at the time. Let’s just say it stunk to high heaven and no one I know of has found a use for the dreaded “liquid”. Maybe skunk repellent.


They are oxygenated fuels with benzene and furan rings, that has high octane numbers.
In theory, you can put them in a car but you have to use them immediately, because they will polymerize over time.



Engineering Support through a Joint Venture with Honeywell UOP
Ensyn has been at the forefront of large-scale fast thermal conversion since the 1980’s. Years of research, design, development and commercial operations by Ensyn’s multi-disciplinary engineering team has matured the RTP® technology and its products.
The pyrolysis oil, a light, clean-burning liquid produced by Envergent Technologies’ RTP® Rapid Thermal Processing technology, will be used to generate renewable electricity and heat for a co-located sawmill owned by Tolko Industries Ltd… The High North plant will also have the capability of producing a renewable resin ingredient that can be used in the manufacture of wood panel products.

“This project demonstrates how use of RTP technology can turn biomass such as wood residuals into a renewable source of energy while reducing a facility’s overall carbon footprint,” said Mark Reno, managing director for Honeywell’s Envergent Technologies joint venture. “We are proud to support High North to create the world’s largest fast pyrolysis plant for renewable heat and power generation.”
OTTAWA and VERNON, BC, June 7 /CNW/ - ENSYN TECHNOLOGIES INC. AND TOLKO INDUSTRIES LTD. announced today that they have formed a partnership to build the world’s largest commercial fast pyrolysis plant in High Level, Alberta. The partnership, High North BioResources Limited Partnership, has been formed to build and operate a plant capable of processing 400 bone dry tonnes of biomass per day into 85,000,000 litres (22.5 million U.S. gallons) of pyrolysis oil annually.
Organization: High North BioResources Limited Partnership
Project: High North RTP Project
Location: High Level, Alberta
CCEMC funding: $5 million
Total project value: $44.9 million
Estimated GHG emissions reduction over 10 years: 988,607
High North BioResources Limited Partnership is a 50/50 partnership created by Tolko Industries
Ltd. and Ensyn Technologies Inc. to carry out the High North RTP Project.
Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company. Tolko is a major
producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board, and kraft papers, with
manufacturing operations across Western Canada. Tolko owns and operates the sawmill in High
Level where the energy plant will be located.
Ensyn Technologies is the world leader in fast pyrolysis and the production of pyrolysis oil from
forestry and agricultural biomass. Since 1989 Ensyn’s technology has been used to produce
pyrolysis-oil for bio-energy and bio-chemical applications. Ensyn formed Envergent Technologies a
joint venture in 2008 with UOP a Honeywell company to deploy Ensyn’s RTP technology globally as
well as to develop a complementary technology to convert pyrolysis oil into transportation fuels.
The High North RTP Project will be the world’s largest commercial fast pyrolysis plant. The facility
will be capable of producing 75,000,000 litres (19.8 million U.S. gallons) of pyrolysis oil annually
from 400 tonnes per day of sawmill residual biomass that is currently being incinerated with
no energy recovery. This pyrolysis oil will be used to produce renewable energy in the form of
electricity and heat that will be used in Tolko’s sawmill at High Level. The renewable energy
produced will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuel based energy. The
facility will also be capable of producing a renewable resin ingredient that can be used in the
manufacture of wood panel products. The project is expected to create over 100 jobs during
construction and approximately 20 continuing direct full time jobs.
July 18, 2016
The governments of Canada and Quebec announced in July they will provide a combined $76.5 million in funding to AE Côte-Nord Bioenergy Canada Inc. for the production of renewable fuel oil from forest residues at its Port-Cartier facility.

The project will employ Ensyn Corp.’s RTP (rapid thermal processing) fast pyrolysis process technology to convert woody biomass to 10.6 million gallons per year of a bio-oil product that, when upgraded to transportation fuels, will remove up to 70,000 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. In March, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks reserved 170,000 green tons of forest residues from government forests to ensure feedstock supply for the project.


UK: Wood residue → wood pellet → old coal plants modified for biomass
Canada: Wood residue → pyrolysis oil → gas turbines


The same here in the Netherlands. And pellets coming from Canada by heavy oil ship…


The oil is the only wood power that gets renewable energy credits and is only used in boilers .
It could be used to power a container ship but then the renewable energy credit would be lost .

I think this process should be looked at If you absolutely needed to remove and not burn more forest than is being done . That so much forest is burning is not a problem and is called nature .
That you would want cut down and use a single one of these trees is something that needs to be fought against .

Title 40. Protection of Environment Chapter I. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Subchapter C. AIR PROGRAMS Part 80. REGULATION OF FUELS AND FUEL ADDITIVES Subpart M. Renewable Fuel Standard Section 80.1426. How are RINs generated and assigned to batches of renewable fuel?
D7 For renewable fuel oil that is heating oil as defined in paragraph (2) of the definition of heating oil in § 80.1401, renewable fuel producers and importers shall not generate RINs unless they have received affidavits from the final end user or users of the fuel oil

Some where in that huge plant is an electrical generator run on wood gas or one was on the schematic .

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Henry what is this mean pattern you now express?
First you beat up on new member Malanguito that he dare do anything in his countries forests.

Now you link to Cow Dog.
And insist the forestry clean up of wild fire burnt tree is an interference with Nature.

DOW site introduction says helpful, friendly, experienced, USE WOOD for Power, advice.
So is it your intent to drive off any and all new members from the DOW with your Green-Spin?? Choke off the Beast thru attrition?
Put fear in the many, many readers to ever speak up, and ask, or contribute, for fear of being Henry’ed jumped?
If there was an unlike button . . . .
If we still had a Flag-post button . . . .
Instead as I’ve told you every time you make one of these Green-Spin insistent posts I will on my own, owned property, fire up my own chainsaw cut down one of my own, owned, taxed trees.
You will be the driving Tree-Killer. I; merely the executioner.

And of course Forum rules prevents me from fully in words expressing myself. I do not wish to be banned.
Steve Unruh

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It is not that I have these opinions but that give warning that these opinions exist and are do have great effect on policy and that worse is coming . Having a policy is more important the having any understanding .


General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday on a range of issues regarding the Defense Department’s 2013 budget request, including future planning on operational energy (i.e. the strategic use of energy resources on the battlefield). At around 2:58:11 of the video, he discusses the security benefits of energy efficiency for the military, in terms of lives saved and operational agility, stating:

We lose soldiers, marines, notably airmen and soldiers, on the roads of Afghanistan going from FOB [forward operating base] to FOB…on resupply missions and so forth. So to the extent we can create autonoumous or semi-autonomous, in terms of energy consumption, power and energy organizations…net zero in terms of their consumption of power and energy, we’ll actually save lives, and become a lot more agile because we won’t be as traditional, linear [with our] line of communications.

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This is how I make charcoal, it’s nice and easy, very warm and inviting around the fire ring. When it all burns down to glowing coals, I shovel it into a air tight barrel to put the fire out. It is a very nice way to spend the evenings with family and friends. It is not as efficient as a retort, but it is a lot more fun. Cheers.


Making charcoal is hard compared to starting a gasifier with charcoal .