Slow pyrolysism Live plantm Biomass, Tar, Char, Light gas


Prescribed (i.e., controlled) burning is a common practice used in many vegetation types in the world to accomplish a wide range of land management objectives including wildfire risk reduction, wildlife habitat improvement, forest regeneration, and land clearing. To properly apply controlled fire and reduce unwanted fire behavior, an improved understanding of fundamental processes related to combustion of live and dead vegetation is needed. Since the combustion process starts with pyrolysis, there is a need for more data and better models of pyrolysis of live and dead fuels. In this study, slow pyrolysis experiments were carried out in a pyrolyzer apparatus under nitrogen atmosphere in two groups of experiments. In the first group, the effects of temperature (400–800 °C), a slow heating rate (5–30 °C min−1), and carrier gas flow rate (50–350 ml min−1) on yields of tar and light gas obtained from pyrolysis of dead longleaf pine litter were investigated to find the optimum condition which results in the maximum tar yield. The results showed that the highest tar yield was obtained at a temperature of 500 °C, heating rate of 30 °C min−1, and sweep gas flow rate of 100 ml min−1. In the second group of experiments, 14 plant species (live and dead) native to forests in the southern United States, were heated in the pyrolyzer apparatus at the optimum condition. A gas chromatograph equipped with a mass spectrometer (GC–MS) and a gas chromatograph equipped with a thermal conductivity detector (GC-TCD) were used to study the speciation of tar and light gases, respectively. The results showed that the tar composition is dominated by oxygenated aromatic compounds consisting mainly of phenols. The light gas analysis showed that CO and CO2 were the dominant light gas species for all plant samples on a dry wt% basis, followed by CH4 and H2.

Original Publication Citation

Amini, E., M-S. Safdari, J. T. Young, D. R. Weise, and T. H. Fletcher, “Characterization of pyrolysis products from slow pyrolysis of live and dead vegetation native to the southern United States,” Fuel, 235, 1475-1491 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2018.08.112

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Chemical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor