Fast and catalytic pyrolysis of xylan: Effects of temperature and M/HZSM-5 (M = Fe, Zn) catalysts on pyrolytic products


Pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) was employed to achieve fast pyrolysis of xylan and on-line analysis of pyrolysis vapors. Tests were conducted to investigate the effects of temperature on pyrolytic products, and to reveal the effect of HZSM-5 and M/HZSM-5 (M = Fe, Zn) zeolites on pyrolysis vapors. The results showed that the total yield of pyrolytic products first increased and then decreased with the increase of temperature from 350°C to 900°C. The pyrolytic products were complex, and the most abundant products included hydroxyacetaldehyde, acetic acid, 1-hydroxy-2-propanone, 1-hydroxy-2-butanone and furfural. Catalytic cracking of pyrolysis vapors with HZSM-5 and M/HZSM-5 (M = Fe, Zn) catalysts significantly altered the product distribution. Oxygen-containing compounds were reduced considerably, and meanwhile, a lot of hydrocarbons, mainly toluene and xylenes, were formed. M/HZSM-5 catalysts were more effective than HZSM-5 in reducing the oxygen-containing compounds, and therefore, they helped to produce higher contents of hydrocarbons than HZSM-5.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Bridgwater A V, Peacocke G V C. Fast pyrolysis processes for biomass. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2000, 4(1):1–73

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Mohan D, Pittman C U, Steele P H. Pyrolysis of wood/biomass for bio-oil: a critical review. Energy & Fuels, 2006, 20(3): 848–889

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Oasmaa A, Czernik S. Fuel oil quality of biomass pyrolysis oils—State of the art for the ender users. Energy & Fuels, 1999, 13(4): 914–921

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Lu Qiang, Li Wenzhi, Zhu Xifeng. Overview of fuel properties of biomass fast pyrolysis oils. Energy Conversion and Management, 2009, 50(5): 1376–1383

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Czernik S, Bridgwater A V. Overview of applications of biomass fast pyrolysis oil. Energy & Fuels, 2004, 18(2): 590–598

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Chiaramonti D, Oasmaa A, Solantausta Y. Power generation using fast pyrolysis liquids from biomass. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2007, 11(6): 1056–1086

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Bridgwater A V. Production of high grade fuels and chemicals from catalytic pyrolysis of biomass. Catalysis Today, 1996, 29(1–4): 285–295

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Pattiya A, Titiloye J O, Bridgwater A V. Fast pyrolysis of cassava rhizome in the presence of catalysts. Journal of Analytical Applied Pyrolysis, 2008, 81(1): 72–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Evans R J, Milne T A. Molecular characterization of the pyrolysis of biomass. 1: Fundamentals. Energy & Fuels, 1987, 1(2): 123–137

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Ponder G R, Richard G N. Thermal synthesis and pyrolysis of a xylan. Carbohydrate Research, 1991, 218: 143–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Wang Shurong, Tan Hong, Luo Zhongyang, Wang Le, Cen Kefa. Experimental research on rapid pyrolysis of xylan. Jouranl of Zhejiang University (Engineering Science), 2006, 40(3): 419–423 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Vitolo S, Seggiani M, Frediani P, Ambrosini G, Politi L. Catalytic upgrading of pyrolytic oils to fuel over different zeolites. Fuel, 1999, 78(10): 1147–1159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Olazar M, Aguado R, Bilbao J. Pyrolysis of sawdust in a conical spouted-bed reactor with a HZSM-5 catalyst. AIChE Journal, 2000, 46(5): 1025–1033

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Darmstadt H, Perez MG, Adnot A, Chaala A, Kretschmer D, Roy C. Corrosion of metals by bio-oil obtained by vacuum pyrolysis of softwood bark residues. An X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Auger electron spectroscopy study. Energy & Fuels, 2004, 18(5):1291–1301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Diebold J P. A review of the chemical and physical mechanisms of the storage stability of fast pyrolysis bio-oils. In: Bridgwater A V, ed. Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass: A Handbook. Newburry, UK: CPL Press, 2002, 243–292

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xifeng Zhu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zhu, X., Lu, Q., Li, W. et al. Fast and catalytic pyrolysis of xylan: Effects of temperature and M/HZSM-5 (M = Fe, Zn) catalysts on pyrolytic products. Front. Energy Power Eng. China 4, 424–429 (2010).

Download citation


  • xylan
  • fast pyrolysis
  • catalytic pyrolysis
  • Py-GC/MS
  • HZSM-5