Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

K. Muthukumarappan


This research was done with a broad intention of developing a batch-type conventional pyrolysis unit for producing two major products called bio-oil and bio-char from different feedstock, evaluating the properties of the bio-oils and bio-chars, and improving the properties of the bio-oils. The feedstock parameters in the various experimental studies included: Types of feedstock (corn stover, prairie cord grass, and big blue stem), particle sizes of feedstock (2, 4, 6, and 8 mm) and moisture contents of the feedstock (5, 10, and 15 %wb). The furnace and other parameters included: pyrolysis temperatures (300, 400, 500, and 600°C), pyrolysis heating rates (20, 30, and 40°Cmin-1), and methanol level (10, 20 and 30%). In the first study, the effect of types of feedstock, pyrolysis temperatures, and pyrolysis heating rates on the yield and properties of the bio-oils, and bio-chars were determined. The properties of the bio-oils obtained from this study have exhibited lower density, lower pH level, lower ash content, and viscosity value closer to diesel fuel which indicates that it can be desirable. As a second part of this research, the effect of particle sizes of the feedstock, types of feedstock, and pyrolysis temperature on the yield and properties of the bio-oils, and bio-chars were determined. In the overall analysis, the particle sizes of the feedstock and types of feedstock have shown no significant difference on the yield of the bio-oil and bio-char. The third part of this research was conducted with the intention of evaluating the influence of moisture contents of the feedstock and types of feedstock on the yield, and properties of bio-oils and bio-char. Overall, the experimental results of this study have shown that the effect of moisture content of the feedstock and types of the feedstock exhibited minimum influence on the properties of the products. The final part of the study was to determine the influence of methanol proportions on the properties of the bio-oil from different feedstock. As a whole, methanol mixtures with the bio-oils resulted in desirable bio-oil properties: a lower density of 0.84gcc-1, a higher pH of 3.91, a lower ash content of 0.04 %, a lower viscosity value of .001 Pa s, and a lower heating value of 18.5 MJkg-1.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Corn stover
Andropogon furcatus
Biomass conversion


Includes bibliographical references (pagess 175-195).



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted