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Commercial Application of Pyrolysis Technology in Agriculture

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  141909089,  2014 Montreal, Quebec Canada July 13 – July 16, 2014. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20141909089) @2014
Authors:   A. (Sandy) J. Marshall, Ping F. Wu, Sang Hun Mun, Charles Lalonde
Keywords:   bioenergy, agricultural products, biomass, soils, biomaterial.

Abstract. The conversion of agricultural, food, biofuel and forestry residues into value-added products via pyrolysis represents many advantages. Bio-char is created during pyrolysis and to a minor extent from gasification and imperfect combustion processes. Bio-char can be applied to soil as a means to improve soil health, to filter and retain nutrients from percolating soil water. Two business cases have been developed to provide an indication of the state of commercialization of pyrolysis technology in agriculture. Manpower costs constitute the most significant part of the operating costs of a stationary pyrolysis plant. Increasing the throughput of the pyrolysis process with constant manpower improves the business case. Mobile pyrolysis plants may successfully reduce raw material and product transportation costs but are subject to increased labour and set-up costs, depending on how often and how far the unit are moved. Ultimately, the probability of success of both mobile and stationary pyrolysis business models will heavily depend on the steady availability of feedstock and on mitigating raw material costs. Improvements in pyrolysis technologies can further increase yields and process energy efficiency increasing the probability of a strong business model.

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