Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Robert C. Brown


An unresolved and debated aspect in the fast pyrolysis of biomass is whether the bio-oil exits as a vapor or as an aerosol from the pyrolytic reactor. The determination of the bio-oil transport phase will have direct and significant impact on the design of fast pyrolysis systems. Optimization of both the removal of particulate matter and collection of bio-oil will require this information. In addition, the success of catalytic reforming of bio-oil to high-value chemicals will depend upon this transport phase.;A variety of experimental techniques were used to identify the transport phase. Some tests were as simple as examining the catch of an inline filter while others attempted to deduce whether vapor or aerosol predominated by examining the pressure drop across a flow restriction. In supplementary testing, the effect of char on aerosol formation and the potential impact of cracking during direct contact filtering are evaluated.;The study indicates that for pyrolysis of red oak approximately 90 wt-% of the collected bio-oil existed as a liquid aerosol. Conversely, the pyrolysis of corn starch produced bio-oil predominately in the vapor phase at the exit of the reactor. Furthermore, it was determined that the addition of char promotes the production of aerosols during pyrolysis of corn starch. Direct contact filtering of the product stream did not collect any liquids and the bio-oil yield was not significantly reduced indicating measurable cracking or coking did not occur.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Daren Einar Daugaard



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

129 pages