Investigation of Biomass Fouling on Screw Feeder in Preconversion of Pyrolysis

Rick Wang, Xin He, Lianshan Lin, Alexis Flores-Betancourt, Kyungjun Lee, Tim Dunning, Jun Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biomass is a source of renewable energy and can undergo thermochemical processes to be converted into gaseous and liquid fuels. Thermal decomposition-induced biomass fouling on the screw feeder is a major challenge in preconversion of pyrolysis, leading to plugging of the feed line. This work intends to gain fundamental understanding of the biomass fouling phenomena across the heat gradient on the screw feeder via a combination of materials characterization and thermal simulation. An actual screw feeder that failed because of biomass fouling was examined to reveal the deposit’s morphology, composition, and mechanical properties. Thermal simulations were developed for both the screw feeder and the wood particles being transported using a combined analytical and numerical approach. The simulated temperature profiles correlated well with the deposit observations, based on which potential mitigations were proposed from both the operation and screw design perspectives and supported by preliminary experimental validation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4934-4942
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-85885


  • Biomass fouling
  • Deposit
  • Screw feeder
  • Thermal simulation


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