Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Fabio H Ribeiro

Second Advisor

Rakesh Agrawal

Committee Member 1

W. Nicholas Delgass

Committee Member 2

Hilkka I Kenttamaa


Fast pyrolysis is a potentially attractive method for converting biomass to a low energy-density liquid (bio-oil) that can be further upgraded for use as fuel. Currently there is no agreement concerning the reaction pathways and mechanisms for pyrolysis of any individual component of biomass. This information is important for optimization of the fast-pyrolysis process. The work was divided into four areas, 1--development and validation of analytical methods and reactors, 2--the utilization of these methods to study pyrolysis of biomass and related models, 3--use of available biomass conversion pathways to propose potential integration with the existing fuel and chemicals markets, and 4--a proposed kinetic and multiphase reactor model for the physical and chemical processes that occur during pyrolysis.