Analysis of Reaction Products and Conversion Time in the Pyrolysis of Cellulose and Wood Particles
A detailed mathematical model is presented for the temporal and spatial accurate modeling of solid-fluid reactions in porous particles for which volumetric reaction rate data is known a priori and both the porosity and the permeability of the particle are large enough to allow for continuous gas phase flow. The methodology is applied to the pyrolysis of spherically symmetric biomass particles by considering previously published kinetics schemes for both cellulose and wood. A parametric study is performed in order !o illustrate the effects of reactor temperature, heating rate, porosity, initial particle size and initial temperature on char yields and conversion times. It is observed that while high temperatures and fast heating rates minimize the production of char in both reactions, practical limits exist due to endothermic reactions, heat capacity and thermal diffusion. Three pyrolysis regimes are identified: 1) initial heating, 2) primary reaction at the effective pyrolysis temperature and 3) final heating. The relative durations of each regime are independent of the reactor temperature and are approximately 20%, 60% and 20% of the total conversion time, respectively. The results show that models which neglect the thermal and species boundary layers exterior to the particle will generally over predict both the pyrolysis rates and experimentally obtainable tar yields. An evaluation of the simulation results through comparisons with experimental data indicates that the wood pyrolysis kinetics is not accurate; particularly at high reactor temperatures.
© 1996 Taylor & Francis. Received 20 Mar 1996, Accepted 17 Jun 1996.