Spontaneous generation of tar decomposition promoter in a biomass steam reformer

S. Hosokai, J. I. Hayashi, T. Shimada, Y. Kobayashi, K. Kuramoto, C. Z. Li, T. Chiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


In situ steam reforming of tar from rapid pyrolysis of biomass was investigated experimentally using a two-stage reactor. Pulverized biomass was continuously fed into the rapid pyrolysis zone of the reactor at 773 K, where nascent volatiles and char were isolated from each other. The volatiles were then mixed with steam and introduced into the steam-reforming zone at 873 to 1073 K consisting of a fixed-bed of mesoporous alumina particles. The yield of tar heavier than naphthalene decreased as the amount of volatiles fed into the fixed-bed increased, and finally reached an undetectable level (well below 0.01% on a biomass carbon basis), leaving benzene and naphthalene with yields of 0.5-1% and below 0.05%, respectively. Coke was deposited over the alumina particles with a yield of 10-20%, and it acted as a catalyst active enough to eliminate polyaromatic hydrocarbons as the representative constituents of the heavy tar. Thus the mesoporous alumina played a dual role of eliminating tar and controlling the total yield of char and coke, and would therefore be suitable as the bed material for biomass gasification in two-stage gasifier with the bed material being circulated between the biomass pyrolysis/steam-reforming zone and the char/coke combustion zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1102
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Issue number9 A
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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