Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Science (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



Electromagnetic heating offers several advantages such as rapid heating rates, accurate temperature control and energy efficiency over conventional reactors. The goal of this study was to design an effective and energy efficient catalytic reactor for pyrolysis vapor upgrading. An induction based catalytic reactor was designed for upgrading of pyrolysis vapors. The effect of catalyst bed temperatures (290°, 330° and 370°C) and biomass to catalyst ratios of 1, 1.5 and 2 was studied. The results were compared to conventional heating reactor. Induction heating reactor performance exceeded that of conventional heater. The biomass to catalyst ratio of 2 in combination with the temperature of 370°C gave the highest aromatics yield. A microwave based catalytic reactor was designed for pyrolysis vapor upgrading. Microwave heating had higher product selectivity and energy efficiency compared to conventional and induction heating reactors. Rate of deterioration of catalyst mainly due to coking was lower for microwave heated catalyst. Higher aromatic hydrocarbon yield, lower oxygen content and high heating value value of bio-oil was obtained by microwave heating of catalyst. A numerical model studying the microwave heating of porous catalyst bed was developed using COMSOL Multiphysics 5.1. The model was validated against the experimental data. The temperature profiles obtained from microwave heating were compared to those obtained from conventional heating. The model was in good agreement with the experimental results. The sample shape, size and position was found to have significant effect on microwave heating of porous catalyst bed.



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Committee Chair

Boldor, Dorin