The fast pyrolysis characteristics of palm empty fruit bunch: The yield and homogeneity of biocrudeoil affected by ash


  • Presented at the Tcbiomass2013 conference; September 3–6, 2013, at Chicago, Illinois.


In the palm oil industry, the palm fresh fruit bunch (FFB) is used to make crude palm oil. During the oil manufacturing process, the palm empty fruit bunch (EFB), which accounts for more than 20 wt % of the FFB, is generated as a byproduct. Although large amounts of EFB are generated every year in Malaysia, the EFB is treated as waste material because commercial technologies for thermochemical conversion of EFB into renewable energy are still in development. Hence, if a robust conversion method is found, the EFB will be an appealing renewable energy source. In this study, the fast pyrolysis of the EFB was conducted in a laboratory-scale (throughput = 1 kg/h) bubbling fluidized bed reactor. The sample material was imported from Waris Selesa Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia. First, this EFB was characterized using proximate and ultimate analytic methods, among others. Additionally, thermogravimetric analysis was conducted to determine the basic thermal degradative characteristics of the EFB. However, one of most difficult problems in manufacturing homogeneous biocrude oil from EFB is its high ash content. The ash content of EFB is more than 7 wt %, which may decrease the yield and quality of resultant biocrude oil. Hence, in this study, the effect of changing the ash content of the EFB on the yield of biocrude oil was examined. Moreover, the pyrolysis reaction temperature was varied from 400 to 650°C to determine the pyrolysis conditions for the optimal yield and quality of biocrude oil. The quality of the biocrude oil was determined based on its homogeneity, which was quantified using microscopy and image-processing technology. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 33: 706–710, 2014