Modelling and evaluating a solar pyrolysis system

Marcelino Sánchez-González, B. Clifford, Jonathan Nixon

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    This study investigates the use of solar energy for producing biofuels through pyrolysis. A model is outlined to define the ideal parameters and evaluate the annual performance of a solar pyrolysis system. The model is demonstrated by considering a linear Fresnel reflector (LFR) system operating in Seville, Spain. The ideal operating temperature and total residence time were determined to be 571 K and 149 min, respectively. Subsequently, an LFR system was sized to have a total reactor length of 3.23 m, a polar inclination angle of 39° and an effective concentrating aperture area of 4.55 m2. The maximum char yield fraction was found to be 40.8 wt.%; however, the annual variability of the solar input resulted in the system producing 1375 kg of biochar from 13.9 t of biomass. The model developed in this study can be applied to evaluate a range of solar thermal technologies in other localities for producing char, gar and oils through the pyrolysis process.

    Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Renewable Energy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Renewable Energy, [116, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2017.10.023

    © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)630-638
    Number of pages9
    JournalRenewable Energy
    Early online date7 Oct 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


    • Linear Fresnel reflector (LFR)
    • Bioenergy
    • Concentrating solar thermal power (CSP)
    • Slow pyrolysis
    • Kinetics


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