Industrial Scale Pyrolysis Oil Production | Centrifuge Application

Industrial Centrifuge for Pyrolysis Oil

Table of Contents

Pyrolysis Process – Brief Description

 

Solid organic material (mostly petroleum based) such as plastics, tires etc., disintegrates into solid and liquid phases  at elevated temperature. This reaction occurs in the absence of oxygen. This process is generally referred to as pyrolysis.

 

Byproducts of Pyrolysis

 

Pyrolysis produces solids, liquid and gases as byproducts. Charcoal or bio-char is the solid by product. Pyrolysis oil aka bio-oil is the liquid by product.

Bio oil is of primary interest due to its properties being like those of petroleum. Further refining of bio oil yields fuels like diesel and fuel oil. These work well as replacement for commercial fuels i.e. diesel fuel and fuel oil in engines.

 

Separating Challenges in Pyrolysis Production

 

Large scale production of bio-oil through the pyrolysis process has its own challenges. Separation of the ’char’ or solid residue left over from the reaction is one of them.

The nature of these particles makes them difficult to separate using conventional filters. Conventional filters plug up fast from the fine particles which are also sticky.

Bio-oil produced by pyrolysis of tires has metal particles from the steel wire mesh in tires. If not removed, this can cause considerable damage to downstream equipment.

Industrial Centrifuges – Processing Solution

Industrial centrifuges are heavy duty separating machines. They are mechanical separators designed to separate liquids from solids continuously.

Two types of centrifuges are applicable to pyrolysis oil separation.

First, decanter centrifuges are suitable for crude pyrolysis oil de-sludging. A high speed, dis stack centrifuge polishes the De-sludged bio oil from the decanter. Summarized below are the technical capabilities of each type centrifuge.

Industrial Centrifuges – Types and Capabilities

Decanter Centrifuge

  • Max. % Solids: Up to 50% (v/v)
  • Max. Solid Particle Size: 1/2″
  • Min. Particle Size Separated: 50 µm
  • Capacity: ~10 GPM to over 350 GPM
  • Processing Mode: Continuous (Not batch)

Self Cleaning, Disc Stack Centrifuge

  • Max. % Solids: Up to 5% (v/v)
  • Max. Solid Particle Size: 250 µm
  • Min. Particle Size Separated: 0.5 µm
  • Capacity: ~2 GPM to over 100 GPM
  • Processing Mode: Continuous (Not batch)

Industrial Centrifuges – Applicability to Pyrolysis Oil Production

Industrial centrifuges are perfect for the application in 2 ways.

Separation of crude pyrolysis oil from coarse sludge:
A decanter centrifuge (as detailed above) is ideal for separating crude pyrolysis oil. It separates the bulk sludge including char and large metal particles in a continuous process.

Removal of fine remaining solids (from step 1):
A disc stack centrifuge (self-cleaning type) removes the finer solids from the oil. This again is a continuous process which produces clean oil.

Real World Application of Industrial Centrifuges for Pyrolysis Production.

Dolphin Centrifuge manufactured the Alfa Laval disc stack centrifuge system shown here. This system was for a pyrolysis oil producer on the west coast.

The customer supplied the oil from post-straining tank. A heat exchanger reduced the temperature before entering the centrifuge system. The ‘self-cleaning’ centrifuge separated all fine metal and char particles. The result was clear bio oil ready for sale!

Centrifuge System Specifics

Alfa Laval MOPX210 Centrifuge for Pyrolysis Tire Oil Processing System including:

Technical specifications of this pyrolysis industrial centrifuge: 3-Phase separation of pyrolysis oil to remove fine sediment down to 0.5µ. The system processes up-to 30 GPM of pyrolysis oil at 200 F to separate all metal and organic sediment.