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One of the objectives of the IEA Bioenergy Pyrolysis Activity (PYRA) was to review pyrolysis fundamentals. Fundamental work is often viewed with some scepticism by industry as its application to the development and commercialisation of an emerging technology cannot be easily demonstrated. This has been the case for biomass fast pyrolysis.

For over 100 years, cellulose and wood pyrolysis kinetics have been determined by TGA, DSC and related techniques and still the number of publications on cellulose and wood pyrolysis kinetics continues to grow. Why should the IEA Pyrolysis Activity therefore consider doing more on fundamentals?

Of the many of the processes under development that have not succeeded, a poor understanding of the underlying phenomena has often been a major contributor, such as the Occidental Process in which the recycled char cracked the vapours to gas.

One of the key problems with reviewing and developing this area has been that there are few meetings and conferences dedicated to biomass pyrolysis let alone the science and fundamentals of biomass pyrolysis. One such conference was the Frontiers of Pyrolysis meeting in Breckenridge in June 1995, which provided a basis for some of the discussion described below, but for which proceedings are unfortunately not available. The newly constituted IEA PYRA activity has provided the first such regular forum.

Additional information

Authors: PISKORZ J, RTI - Resource Transforms International Ltd, Waterloo, Ontario (CA);PEACOCKE G V C, Bio-Energy Research Group, Aston University, Birmingham (GB);BRIDGWATER A V, Bio-Energy Research Group, Aston University, Birmingham (GB)
Bibliographic Reference: A chapter in "Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass: a handbook, Volume 1", EUR 18913. CPL Press, 1999. 194pp. 35 pounds sterling
Availability: Available from: CPL Press, Liberty House, The Enterprise Centre, New Greenham Park, Newbury, RG19 6HW, UK Tel: +44-1635-817408 Fax: +44-1635-817409 Email:
ISBN: 1-872691-07-2
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