Catalytic level identification of ZSM-5 on biomass pyrolysis and aromatic hydrocarbon formation

Wei Hsin Chen, Ching Lin Cheng, Kuan Ting Lee, Su Shiung Lam, Hwai Chyuan Ong, Yong Sik Ok, Samrand Saeidi, Amit K. Sharma, Tzu Hsien Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Zeolite socony mobil-5 (ZSM-5) is a common catalyst used for biomass pyrolysis. Nevertheless, the quantitative information on the catalytic behavior of ZSM-5 on biomass pyrolysis is absent so far. This study focuses on the catalytic pyrolysis phenomena and mechanisms of biomass wastes using ZSM-5 via thermogravimetric analyzer and pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, with particular emphasis on catalytic level identification and aromatic hydrocarbons (AHs) formation. Two biomass wastes of sawdust and sorghum distillery residue (SDR) are investigated, while four biomass-to-catalyst ratios are considered. The analysis suggests that biomass waste pyrolysis processes can be divided into three zones, proceeding from a heat-transfer dominant zone (zone 1) to catalysis dominant zones (zones 2 and 3). The indicators of the intensity of difference (IOD), catalytic effective area, catalytic index (CI), and aromatic enhancement index are conducted to measure the catalytic effect of ZSM-5 on biomass waste pyrolysis and AHs formation. The maximum IOD occurs in zone 2, showing the highest intensity of the catalytic effect. The CI values of the two biomass wastes increase with increasing the biomass-to-catalyst ratio. However, there exists a threshold for sawdust pyrolysis, indicating a limit for the catalytic effect on sawdust. The higher the catalyst addition, the higher the AHs proportion in the vapor stream. When the biomass-to-catalyst ratio is 1/10, AHs formation is intensified significantly, especially for sawdust. Overall, the indexes conducted in the present study can provide useful measures to identify the catalytic pyrolysis dynamics and levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129510
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan , ROC, under contracts MOST 109-2221-E-006-040-MY3 and MOST 109-3116-F-006-016-CC1 for this research. This research was also supported in part by the Higher Education Sprout Project, Ministry of Education to the Headquarters of University Advancement at National Chen Kung University ( NCKU ). The authors would also like to thank Universiti Malaysia Terengganu under Golden Goose Research Grant Scheme (GGRG) (Vot 55191) for supporting Dr. Lam to perform this joint project with NCKU.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Aromatic enhancement index (AEI)
  • Catalytic index (CI)
  • Catalytic pyrolysis
  • Py-GC/MS and TG-FTIR
  • ZSM-5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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