JPEE  Vol.3 No.4 , April 2015
Pyrolysis of Oil Palm Residues in a Fixed Bed Tubular Reactor

Searching for alternative energy sources continues to grow in recent times due to the fear of energy insecurity in the near future and environmental and sociopolitical issues associated with the use of fossil fuel. Among the renewable energy sources, biomass is the only source that has carbon in its building blocks which can be processed to liquid fuel. In this study, pyrolysis of oil palm residues (trunk, frond and empty fruit bunch) was carried out in a fixed bed tubular reactor under nitrogen atmosphere at 30 mL/min, 30?C/min heating rate and 600?C reaction temperature. Pyrolysis products (bio-oil, bio-char and non-condensable gas) were characterized. Water content, acidity (pH), higher heating value (HHV) and oxygen content of the bio-oil varied between 39.28 - 43 wt%, 2.92 - 3.20, 19.29 - 21.92 MJ/kg and 58.47 - 59.85 wt% respectively. Low pH, highwater and oxygen contents in the oil make it unsuitable for being used as fuel and therefore require upgrading. Scanning electron microscopy and ultimate analysis of the bio-char suggests that it is a porous material and consists mainly carbon between 82.22 - 84.96 wt% and has HHV in the range of 25.98 - 27.65 MJ/kg. This may be used as solid biofuel, adsorbent and source of carbon. High percentage of hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) were observed in the non-condensable gas which may be processed to transportation fuel via Fisher-Tropsch process. Oil palm residues represent good source of renewable energy when all the pyrolysis products are efficiently utilized.

Cite this paper: Yakub, M. , Abdalla, A. , Feroz, K. , Suzana, Y. , Ibraheem, A. and Chin, S. (2015) Pyrolysis of Oil Palm Residues in a Fixed Bed Tubular Reactor. Journal of Power and Energy Engineering, 3, 185-193. doi: 10.4236/jpee.2015.34026.

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