Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Gregory Michna

Second Advisor

Stephen Gent


Fast pyrolysis is one method of creating bio-oil from biomass such as lignin, prairie cordgrass, and other organic commercial and industrial byproducts. In this thesis, fast pyrolysis of Brassica carinata meal, or simply carinata meal, was performed in an auger-type reactor. A parametric study was conducted to investigate the differences in yield, calorific, rheological, and stability property differences between the bio-oils created at five reactor temperatures and two condenser temperatures. The viscosity, water content, energy content, and acidity of the oils were measured using a rheometer, Karl- Fisher titration, a bomb calorimeter, and a titrator, respectively. The aging of the bio-oil was investigated by reevaluating these properties at 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, 28 days, and 84 days after the oil was created. Two oils were created, stratifying upon collection to produce a low-viscosity bio-oil and a high-viscosity bio-oil. The high-viscosity bio-oil was determined to be the better product. It was found that any reactor temperatures above 500°C produce bio-oils of similar composition, although with changes in yield, while high viscosity bio-oil created at 450°C had higher energy contents than the other temperatures, with an average of 29 MJ/kg versus an average of 27 MJ/kg. Condenser temperature had a significant impact on oil properties, with lower condenser temperatures showing higher energy contents and lower viscosities. In addition, the aging results of the bio-oils tested have shown insignificant changes in TAN, water content, and energy content, while viscosity increased considerably. The best return, as characterized by the energy content per kilogram of processed biomass, is at the 600-40 reactor/condenser temperature with a return of 5.54 MJ/kg biomass input.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pyrolysis Oilseed plants Brassica Biomass energy Biomass conversion


Includes bibliographical references (pages 82-87)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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