Expanding the biomass resourceSustainable oil production via fast pyrolysis of low input high diversity biomass and the potential integration of thermochemical and biological conversion routes

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-862
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date14 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2016
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Waste biomass is generated during the conservation management of semi-natural habitats, and represents an unused resource and potential bioenergy feedstock that does not compete with food production. Thermogravimetric analysis was used to characterise a representative range of biomass generated during conservation management in Wales. Of the biomass types assessed, those dominated by rush (Juncus effuses) and bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) exhibited the highest and lowest volatile compositions respectively and were selected for bench scale conversion via fast pyrolysis. Each biomass type was ensiled and a sub-sample of silage was washed and pressed. Demineralization of conservation biomass through washing and pressing was associated with higher oil yields following fast pyrolysis. The oil yields were within the published range established for the dedicated energy crops miscanthus and willow. In order to examine the potential a multiple output energy system was developed gross power production estimates following valorisation of the press fluid, char and oil. If used in multi fuel industrial burners the char and oil alone would displace 3.9 x 105 tonnes per year of No. 2 light oil using Welsh biomass from conservation management. Bioenergy and product development using these feedstocks could simultaneously support biodiversity management and substitute for fossil fuels, thereby reducing GHG emissions. Gross power generation predictions show good potential.


  • fast pyrolysis, low input high density, conservation biomass, integrated processing, rush, bracken, bio oil