Impact of high-temperature biomass pyrolysis on biochar formation and composition

Xun Zou, Paulo Debiagi, Muhammad Ahsan Amjed, Ming Zhai, Tiziano Faravelli

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


The development and utilization of biomass play a vital role in reducing fossil fuel dependency and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. High-temperature pyrolysis provides a promising route for converting biomass into valuable products without tar formation. Kinetic models are essential for understanding biomass pyrolysis processes, aiding reactor design and optimization. In this study, rice husk (RH) and corn straw (CS) are selected, which exhibit significant differences in ash content but are widely present. Pyrolysis is performed using a thermogravimetric analyzer coupled with a mass spectrometer (TGA-MS). The results show a rapid decrease in solid residue oxygen content at elevated temperatures, which stabilized after reaching 900°C, accounting for about 8–10%. MS quantification indicates increased release of H2O and CO during this stage. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis on the biochar unveils that this phenomenon is attributed to the stretching vibration of C-O bonds and the conversion of -OH groups. The remaining oxygen primarily exists as carbonyl and carboxyl groups. Subsequently, the CRECK-S-B biomass pyrolysis kinetic model is updated, specifically targeting the transformation mechanism of oxygen-containing solids at high temperatures to improve the prediction of biochar yield and elemental composition. The relative error of oxygen content prediction is less than 10%. The accuracy of the model is validated through experimental data and an extensive literature database, leading to the establishment of a comprehensive database. The updated model demonstrates significantly enhanced prediction accuracy for pyrolysis temperatures above 800°C, expanding its applicability range. Moreover, it achieves an accuracy rate exceeding 80% for char yield and elemental content in the temperature range of 200–1000°C, including torrefaction conditions. It provides a theoretical foundation for the effective utilization of high-temperature biochar, offers a novel insight into biomass thermochemical conversion, and contributes to the sustainable development of biomass energy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106463
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Biochar
  • High-temperature pyrolysis
  • Kinetic mechanism
  • Oxygen functionalities
  • TGA-MS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Fuel Technology


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