Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.98, No.11, 2417-2424, 2020
Pyrolysis shaker reactor for the production of biochar
Intermediate pyrolysis reactors are preferred for processes focused on the production of high-quality biochar. The main types are rotary drums, augers, and moving beds agitated with either grates or paddles. These reactors are usually operated in continuous mode, and are designed to provide a pure, homogeneous biochar product by ensuring near plug flow of the reacting particles. There is a need for laboratory reactors that can provide enough biochar for testing in applications such as soil amendment, fillers for concrete or polymers, coke substitution, or pollutant capture. The pyrolysis shaker reactor (PSR) is a new laboratory reactor that is inexpensive, provides good mixing and temperature control, is easy to operate and allows for rapid turnaround between runs. It provides a homogeneous biochar product. Its use was demonstrated with digestate from the anaerobic digestion of food waste. The rapid and thorough testing program made possible with the PSR indicated that this digestate should be pyrolyzed at 250 degrees C to maximize the release of mineral from the biochar to water, and at 400 degrees C to minimize the release of minerals. Its biochar would require post-treatment to be applied as a substitute for activated carbon.