Molten salt pyrolysis of biomass

In the high temperature lab at IMT researchers illustrate how biomass can be converted to bio-oil using molten salt pyrolysis.

Molten salt pyrolysis of biomass

Heidi S. Nygrd at the pyrolysis oven.
Heidi S. Nygård at the pyrolysis oven. Photo: Ingunn Burud
Heidi S. Nygrd preparing an experiment at the pyrolysis oven at IMT.
Heidi S. Nygård preparing an experiment at the pyrolysis oven at IMT. Photo: Ingunn burud


As part of the research on renewable energy a high temperature lab has been built at IMT for research on how to produce bio-oil in a CO2-neutral manner.

Molten Salt Pyrolysis of biomass is a form of thermochemical conversion where biomass decomposes when heated to a molten salt without access to air. The salt used in the process is an inorganic compound which is very stable in its liquid state at high temperatures and has good heat transfer characteristics.

The catalytic properties result in products with more uniform chemistry compared to the corresponding pyrolysis methods. In addition the salt will capture undesired components and impurities, so that the method can be used on difficult convertible and / or environmentally problematic biomass. The pyrolysis products can be used as fuel or as raw material for production of high-value chemicals.

schematic view of a moltensalt reactor
Schematic view of a moltensalt reactor 
Heidi S. Nygrd and Espen Olsen working at the high temperature lab at IMT
Heidi S. Nygård and Espen Olsen working at the high temperature lab at IMT Photo: Ingunn Burud


Espen Olsen showing a bottle of oil from pyrolyis of biomass
Espen Olsen showing a bottle of oil from pyrolyis of biomass Photo: Ingunn Burud

Members of the group:

Espen Olsen - Associate professor
Heidi S. Nygård - PhD candidate
Petter H. Heyerdahl - Associate professor

Published 28. November 2016 - 12:18 - Updated 28. February 2018 - 10:05