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Experimental analysis of biomass pyrolysis using microwave-induced plasma

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date05/2012
JournalFuel Processing Technology
Number of pages6
Early online date9/02/12
Original languageEnglish


Energy-from-waste, a process that converts high calorific wastes to energy, has posed a possible renewable energy route, in addition to reducing waste volumes being sent to landfill. One technology that is effective at near complete organic–inorganic dissociation is plasma gasification. However, a precursor to generating this plasma is to create an electrical arc by a large DC current, which is highly energy intensive. This study, however, examines a novel method of producing plasma by microwaves, which is much more energy effi- cient. To test its suitability in waste and biomass treatment, three 10 g triplicate waste wood (biomass) sam- ples was pyrolysed using microwave-induced plasma in a lab-based reactor. The resultant gas was siphoned from the reactor exhaust pipe and characterised using a Gasmet DX400 FTIR analyser. To determine the pro- portion of gas flow between the siphon tube and exhaust, a mass balance model of the system was con- structed. After applying the appropriate correction factor, the mean mass ratio of liquid, solid, and gas was found to be 66:20:13. The start and final masses were recorded and compared with literature values. Mean mass loss was determined to be 7.96 g (79.6 wt.%), which is indicative of complete pyrolysis.