Mathematical Modeling of Biomass Pyrolysis Using Discrete Element Method
As fossil fuels and other forms of carbon-based resources become increasingly scarce and environmentally detrimental, renewable sources of energy have progressively become the subject of green research. Because of its chemical and structural properties, lignocellulosic biomass has shown great promise in becoming a potential alternative to carbon-based fuels. The heterogeneous nature of the biomass produces numerous sustainable chemical fuels and resources when thermally degraded. To better understand and optimize these processes, mathematical modeling of microstructural changes, induced by pyrolysis, is the focus of this work. Although similar, pyrolysis research has been conducted over the years, most of these approaches have been continuum-based. Typically, such methods are effective when analyzing macrostructural changes. However, continuum-based approaches become less effective when studying changes in the microstructure of biomass. This work utilizes discrete element method (DEM) as an alternative platform to simulate pyrolysis-induced changes. A DEM-based approach allows individual particles within a cross-section of biomass microstructure to be tracked and analyzed.