A critical review on biomass pyrolysis: Reaction mechanisms, process modeling and potential challenges

Arun Krishna Vuppaladadiyam, Sai Sree Varsha Vuppaladadiyam, Vineet Singh Sikarwar, Ejaz Ahmad, Kamal K. Pant, Murugavelh S, Ashish Pandey, Sankar Bhattacharya, Ajit Sarmah, Shao Yuan Leu

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Pyrolysis is a versatile technology for exploiting diversified feedstocks to produce a wide range of products, including biochar, bio-oil, and syngas with high potential in diverse applications. The cardinal motivation of pyrolysis research is to productively use diverse biomass to reduce adverse impacts on ecology and enhance process economics. However, complex reactions of pyrolysis pose operational challenges. Thus, the present review targets the reaction mechanisms and kinetics of pyrolysis to enhance the understanding for better process control, improved performance, and product distribution. Pyrolysis mechanisms of the major structural components of biomass, such as cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose, as well as proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, are discussed in detail. Various modeling techniques and tools, viz., mathematical, kinetic, computational fluid dynamic modeling, and machine learning algorithms, have been employed to better understand the pyrolysis mechanisms and product distribution. In addition, the most critical challenges, namely aerosol formation, tar formation and their removal mechanisms, that severely impact the pyrolysis process and products are identified and reported. Thus, the present work critically discusses state-of-art biomass pyrolysis, focusing on the reaction mechanism, modeling, and associated challenges to overcome, given that the pyrolysis products and the process are enhanced.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101236
JournalJournal of the Energy Institute
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Aerosol and tar formation
  • Aquatic biomass
  • Lignocellulosic biomass
  • Mechanisms
  • Modeling
  • Pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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