Liquids colfection

This has long been a major difficulty for researchers. The pyrolysis vapours have similar properties to cigarette smoke and capture by almost all collection devices is very inefficient. The product vapours are not true vapours but rather a mist or fume and are typically present in an inert gas at relatively low concentrations which increases cooling and condensation problems. They can be characterised as a combination of true vapours, micron sized droplets and polar molecules bonded with water vapour molecules. This contributes to the collection problem as the aerosols need to be impinged onto a surface to permit collection, even after cooling to below the dew point temperature.

Electrostatic precipitators are effective but can create problems from the polar nature of the product and arcing of the liquids as they flow, causing the electrostatic precipitator to short out. Larger scale processing usually employs some type of quenching or contact with cooled liquid product which is effective. Careful design is needed to avoid blockage from differential condensation of heavy ends. The rate of cooling appears to be important. Slow cooling leads to preferential collection of the lignin derived components which is a viscous liquid which can lead to blockage of heat exchange equipment and liquid fractionation. Very rapid cooling of the product has been suggested to be effective as occurs typically in a direct contact quench. Transfer lines from the reactor through the cyclone(s) to the liquid collection system should be maintained at > 400’C to minimise liquid deposition and collection.

At present, there are no recognised design methods and most work has been empirical and specific to the characteristics of the feedstock being processed. Commercial liquids recovery processes are usually proprietary and may be specific to individual feedstocks and reactor configurations/.