A predictive model of biochar formation and characterization

P. Debiagi, G. Gentile, A. Cuoci, A. Frassoldati, E. Ranzi, T. Faravelli

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Biomass is increasingly being recognized as a promising carrier for both heat, energy and chemicals production. However, several aspects still require intense research activity towards a better design and optimization of industrial combustors, gasifiers and pyrolyzer. The objective of this work is to update the CRECK kinetic mechanism of biomass pyrolysis, allowing a better prediction of both yield and composition of the solid residue (biochar). Moreover, further model modifications allow to better describe the variability of hemicellulose in different biomass. To this end, a large set of literature experimental data is collected and organized into a database, which is used to further tune and validate the proposed kinetic mechanism. Although the kinetic model maintains the previous agreement in respect of the rate of biomass pyrolysis, formation and distribution of gas and tar products, the novelty of this work is the greater attention to the predictions of biochar yield and composition, in a wide range of operative conditions. The model describes the solid residue as a mixture of pure carbon together with lumped metaplastic compounds, which represent the whole range of oxygenated and hydrogenated groups bonded to the carbonaceous matrix. These metaplastic species are released to the gas phase with their own kinetics and describe the change of both mass loss and elemental composition of the biochar. These comprehensive predictions of biochar composition are crucial for an accurate description of the successive oxidation and gasification processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biochar
  • Biomass
  • Kinetic mechanism
  • Pyrolysis
  • Solid fuel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Fuel Technology


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