Vacuum pyrolysis of intruder plant biomasses
Biomass from three invasive plant species of the Western Karoo region in South Africa, namely Kraalbos, Schotzbos and Asbos, was treated by vacuum pyrolysis. The influence of temperature, pyrolysis time, pressure and initial moisture content on the bio-oil and charcoal yields were investigated. Asbos with the largest ash content, 19.9 wt.%, gave chars with an ash content between 40 wt.% and 44 wt.% making it difficult to use commercially. Vacuum pyrolysis of Kraalbos resulted in producing a biochar with a HHV of 23.0-25.5 MJ/kg and an ash content of 13-19 wt.% which compared favourable with commercial charcoal. The bio-oils from both Kraalbos and Schotzbos showed promise as potential heating oil with a HHV of 21.6-26.9 MJ/kg. The tarry phase contained a number of phenolic compounds that can be separated and shows promise as a feedstock for upgrading. Finally ageing which acts on the lignocellulosic structure of biomasses decreased the charcoal and oil yields from the vacuum pyrolysis of intruder plants. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.