Vacancy No. IKFT 07-18 Masterthesis/ Internship: Rigorous kinetic modelling for fast pyrolysis

IKFT 07-18 Masterthesis/ Internship: Rigorous kinetic modelling for fast pyrolysis


Job description

Fast pyrolysis of biomass is a thermochemical conversion process that aims at a maximized liquid yield. The produced oil represents a densified energy carrier, which needs further upgrading or conversion before it can be used as a liquid fuel. One possibility is gasification and subsequent synthesis to chemicals and drop-in fuels as in the bioliq® concept developed by KIT. The bioliq® concept has been realized with a pilot plant situated on the KIT campus which uses a twin-screw mixing reactor for fast pyrolysis.

Simulation of fast pyrolysis kinetics is a widely investigated topic, with a great focus on thermogravimetric determination of apparent reaction rates for different types of biomass and/or operating conditions, or theoretical determination of gas-phase kinetics for the degradation of different lignocellulosic compounds.

The aim of this work is to take existent extensive pyrolysis kinetics, such as the work of Ranzi et al. 1, apply it to the biomass in study and simplify the model to allow for use on other software platforms. An example of a possible approach to follow can be found on the work of Gossler and Deutschmann 2. The studies are to be performed in DETCHEM, an open-source software package based on FORTRAN routines designed to compute complex kinetics, based on the proprietary input mode used by Reacton Design’s CHEMKIN™.

A concept known as autothermal pyrolysis, by allowing controlled amounts of oxygen into the pyrolysis reaction, seeks to avoid the complex heating systems currently employed by the bioliq® unit 3. In that sense, the second focus of the work proposal is to study this effect based on the simplified model aforementioned.

Experimental tests to measure reaction kinetics or product distributions may be required. For this purpose, thermobalances to conduct Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) trials for different biomasses and/or operational conditions are available, as well as a a lab scale fluidized bed fast pyrolysis reactor.

Work and supervision are expected to be conducted in English. Candidates selection is expected to take place in January 2019, please submit your application via email up to that time.

Personal qualification

Bachelor in Chemical/Process Engineering

Organizational unit

Institute of Catalysis Research und Technology (IKFT)

Starting date

Middle of April 2019

Frederico G Fonseca (M.Sc.)

IKFT (Campus Nord)

Phone: 0721/608-23361



Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number IKFT 07-18 Masterthesis/ Internship: Rigorous kinetic modelling for fast pyrolysis.
Personnel support is provided by 

Ms Schaber
phone: +49 721 608-25184,

Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

If qualified, handicapped applicants will be preferred.