Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in birch wood slow pyrolysis products

Leena Fagernäs (Corresponding Author), Eeva Kuoppala, Pekka Simell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)


    The products from slow pyrolysis of birch hardwood are promising to be used for various purposes, in addition to conventional charcoal. To evaluate their utilization, knowledge about their polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is needed. The content and distribution of the PAHs in the different products were determined in a test run with a typical slow pyrolysis carbonization retort. The PAH compositions of gases, and distillates including aqueous phases and tars, were followed in terms of time and retort temperature. Also, other compounds in gases and aqueous phases through the test run were analyzed. PAHs were found in all the products, but were mostly concentrated in the tars. Because of the results, the PAH contents in the tars has to be considered. In contrast, very low PAH concentrations were found for the tar-free aqueous phases. Because of low PAH and also low benzene contents, the aqueous phases are promising to be utilized in various applications, for example as biodegradable pesticides. Due to high proportions of combustible gases, such as carbon monoxide, methane, and hydrogen, the gases could be utilized as a fuel gas for energy. In addition to barbecue charcoal, the charcoal might have potential to be used as biochar as a soil amendment. The PAH results can be exploited when planning the utilization of the products and for registration purposes needed in the commercialization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6960-6970
    Number of pages19
    JournalEnergy & Fuels
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Slow pyrolysis
    • birch harwood
    • PAHs
    • gases
    • aqueous phases
    • tars
    • charcoal
    • biochar


    Dive into the research topics of 'Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in birch wood slow pyrolysis products'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this