• fast pyrolysis;
  • reaction mechanism;
  • biomass;
  • vapor phase;
  • minerals


To maximize oil yields in the fast pyrolysis of biomass it is generally accepted that vapors need to be rapidly quenched. The influence of the heterogeneous and homogeneous vapor-phase reactions on yields and oil composition were studied using a fluidized-bed reactor. Even high concentrations of mineral low char (till 55 vol %) appeared not to be catalytically active. However, the presence of minerals, either in biomass or added, does influence the yields, especially by the occurrence of vapor-phase charring/polymerization reactions. Contradictory, in the absence of minerals, homogeneous vapor-phase cracking reactions were dominant over polymerization/charring reactions (400–550°C, 1–15 s). With increasing vapor residence time, the oil yield reached an asymptotic value, which decreased with temperature. At a vapor temperature of 400°C no decrease in oil yield was observed, but dedicated analysis showed that homogeneous vapor to vapor reactions had occurred. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012