Standard Analytical Methods for Pyrolysis Bio-Oils

Jack Ferrell III, Earl Christensen, Mariefel Olarte, Jiheon Jun, Dino Sulejmanovic, Joel Miscall, Jessica Olstad, Rebecca Jackson, Renee Happs, Anne Harman-Ware, Bennett Addison, Marie Swita, Teresa Lemmon, Ruoshui Ma, Joshua Taylor, Asanga Padmaperuma, Charles Doll, Andrew Plymale, Christopher Thompson, Matthew O'HaraRaynella Connatser, James Keiser, Samuel Lewis

Research output: NRELPoster


There has been significant recent interest in the production of renewable fuels and chemicals from biomass and waste feedstocks. Pyrolysis pathways produce a liquid bio-oil product, which must be processed further, or upgraded, to yield fuel or chemical products. Bio-oils are very complex and often unstable samples, and research and development on upgrading processes needs reliable analytical information. In particular, chemical characterization techniques are needed to quantify both functional groups and individual compounds present in bio-oils. Reliable analytics are also needed to enable the bioenergy industry, as industrial facilities often have different analytical needs and capabilities than research facilities. In this presentation, we will discuss the development of a suite of standard analytical methods for pyrolysis bio-oils. Analytical methods to be discussed include: Determination of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Oxygen in bio-oils; Accelerated Aging of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil using Carbonyl Titration; Determination of Water Content in Bio-oils by Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration; Determination of Carbon Functional Groups; Elemental Analysis of Bio-oils by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) - Na, K, Mg, Ca, S, P, and Fe; Determination of Phenolic Groups in Bio-oils using Revised Folin-Ciocalteu Methods: Single Cuvette and Plate Reader; Corrosivity of Bio-oils: Screening Test using Metal Leaching; Determination of Biogenic Content by 14C Measurement using Liquid Scintillation Counter. These new analytical methods are publicly available as Laboratory Analytical Procedures (, along with previously developed standard methods: GC-MS, Acid Titration, Carbonyl Titration, and 31P NMR. Additionally, the development of diffusion ordered NMR for characterization of bio-oil molecular weight will be discussed. Collectively, this suite of analytical methods represents the most comprehensive set of standard methods available for pyrolysis bio-oils. These standard methods are commonly used by the bioenergy community, and provide reliable information that enables research, scaleup, and industrial processing of biomass to produce renewable fuels and chemicals.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the tcbiomass Conference, 19-21 April 2022, Denver, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5100-82679


  • analytical
  • bio-oil
  • pyrolysis


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