Development and application of a continuous fast microwave pyrolysis system for sewage sludge utilization

Junwen Zhou, Shiyu Liu, Nan Zhou, Liangliang Fan, Yaning Zhang, Peng Peng, Erik Anderson, Kuan Ding, Yunpu Wang, Yuhuan Liu, Paul L Chen, R. R Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A continuous fast microwave-assisted pyrolysis system was designed, fabricated, and tested with sewage sludge. The system is equipped with continuous biomass feeding, mixing of biomass and microwave absorbent, and separated catalyst upgrading. The effect of the sludge pyrolysis temperature (450, 500, 550, and 600 °C) on the products yield, distribution and potentially energy recovery were investigated. The physical, chemical, and energetic properties of the raw sewage sludge and bio-oil, char and gas products obtained were analyzed using elemental analyzer, GC–MS, Micro-GC, SEM and ICP-OES. While the maximum bio-oil yield of 41.39 wt% was obtained at pyrolysis temperature of 550 °C, the optimal pyrolysis temperature for maximum overall energy recovery was 500 °C. The absence of carrier gas in the process may be responsible for the high HHV of gas products. This work could provide technical support for microwave-assisted system scale-up and sewage sludge utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Biochar
  • Continuous pyrolysis system
  • Energy recovery potential
  • Fast microwave-assisted pyrolysis
  • Sewage sludge

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