Pyrolysis reactors are often custom-engineered due to many variables that impact the design process. Economic factors such as feedstock selection, targeted end products, capacity, and build site limitations must be considered when selecting a particular reactor design. Primary technical considerations include biomass particle size, operating temperature, solid and gas residence times, reaction rates, heat transfer limitations, and interaction with construction materials.
Historically, there have been several reactor designs and variations, including:
Bubbling Fluidized Beds pass a fluid through a granular material (e.g., sand) at high velocities. The injected biomass receives heat from the fluidized media, efficiently targeting specific chemical reactions. These systems often target high liquid yields.
Circulating Fluidized Beds operate similarly to bubbling fluidized beds, except the system re-circulates the granular material and biomass through the reactor and ancillary separation systems.
Augers used as reactors convey the solids via a screw while transferring heat to pyrolyze the biomass. Solid char is captured at the end of the screw. At the same time, vapors are separated and carried overhead to ancillary systems to condense the vapor stream or further process to alternative end products.
Multiple Hearth transport biomass through several zones while transferring heat to pyrolyzed biomass. As the solid travels downward through the reactor, vapors are removed while converting the biomass to biocarbon. This technology often utilizes larger particle-sized biomass.
In addition, several other pyrolysis technologies are in practice, such as microwave pyrolyzers, free fall reactors, cone reactors, ablative systems, and molten salt heat carriers. Due to the many variables, pyrolysis development does not lend itself to an off-the-shelf, universal pyrolysis reactor design. Because of this industry limitation, it is critical that a pyrolysis reactor design expert is involved in the technical and economic evaluation and design of proposed systems. Lee Enterprise Consulting has expert consultants available to provide technical and economic evaluations on suitable reactor solutions for various customer systems.
For over 25 years, Lee Enterprises Consulting has assisted companies and investors with issues relating to bioenergy, biofuels, biomaterials and chemicals, biotechnologies, and feedstocks. With over 150 consultants, we have the diverse expertise and geographical reach to assist in virtually any bioeconomy project worldwide. These seasoned professionals average over 30 years of industry experience. Our ability to assemble these professionals into multidisciplinary teams allows us to fully integrate a project’s technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects, and combine them with years of hands-on experience. Take a look at our experts and the services we provide. You will note that most of our experts are also available for ancillary engagements and advice, for specialty engagements like serving as expert witnesses in litigation matters. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.