Characteristics of Particles in Pyrolysis Oil

Particles filtered out of pyrolysis oil produced through fast pyrolysis of stem wood, willow, reed canary grass, bark, and forest residue were characterized using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy with the aim of identifying particle categories and discussing transport mechanisms of particles and inorganics into the oil. Particles filtered out of both the condensed and the aerosol fractions of the oil displayed three types of morphology: (i) char-like structures (1–15 μm), (ii) spheres (100 nm to 1 μm), and (iii) irregularly shaped residue (50–500 nm). The char-like structures were identified as char. The spheres and irregularly shaped residue shared morphology and composition with tar balls and organic particles with inorganic inclusions. These particles could have formed either during the fast pyrolysis stage or through precipitation from the oil during storage. All particles consisted mainly of C and O but also small amounts of inorganics. The particles from the aerosol fraction of the oil had higher inorganics content than the particles from the condensed fraction. The results were discussed, and suggested transport mechanisms of inorganics into particles were presented.