Mathematical Modeling of Fast Biomass Pyrolysis and Bio-Oil Formation. Note I: Kinetic Mechanism of Biomass Pyrolysis

Eliseo Ranzi, Paulo Eduardo Amaral Debiagi, Alessio Frassoldati

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the research activities done at Politecnico di Milano in the field of the detailed kinetic modeling of pyrolysis and combustion of biomass and bio-oil formation. Different critical steps are involved in this multicomponent, multiphase and multiscale problem. The first complexity relies on biomass characterization with the selection of reference species: cellulose, hemicellulose, lignins, and extractives. Fast pyrolysis involves kinetic mechanisms, first in the solid phase for biomass pyrolysis, then in gas-phase for secondary reactions of released products. These mechanisms involve large number of species and reactions, which make computations expensive. They need to be simplified, while still maintaining their description capability. Lumping procedures are extensively applied to allow the development of the overall model. Multistep pyrolysis mechanisms of reference species are discussed in this Note, with several comparisons with experimental data. A peculiarity of the model is its ability to provide detailed compositions of pyrolysis products and solid residue. Catalytic effect of ash on pyrolysis products is also discussed. A companion paper will discuss the successive or secondary gas phase reactions of pyrolysis products, together with the heterogeneous reactions of residual char. Finally, the modeling of bio-oil formation requires a comprehensive description of the coupling of kinetic and transport processes, both at the particle and the reactor scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2867-2881
Number of pages15
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ash effect on pyrolysis products
  • Biomass characterization
  • Cellulose
  • Fast biomass byrolysis
  • hemicellulose, lignin, and extractives
  • Multistep kinetic mechanism of biomass decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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