Date of Award:

12-2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Foster A. Agblevor

Abstract

Pinyon and juniper are invasive woody species which has occupied more than 47 million acres of land in Western United States. Pinyon juniper woodlands domination decreases the herbaceous vegetation, increase bare lands which in turn increases soil erosion and nutrition loss. Thus, The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has focused on harvesting these woody species to make room for herbaceous vegetation. The major application of harvested pinyon-juniper (PJ) is low value firewood. Thus, there is a need to develop new high value products from this woody biomass to reduce the cost of harvesting. In this study pyrolysis was carried out to investigate the feasibility of converting pinyon juniper biomass to value added products. The first part of the study was focused on biomass characterization, and effect of biomass type on product yields. The second part focuses on optimization of process parameters on product yields. The third part focuses on catalytic pyrolysis for improving the quality of bio-oil. In this study it has been shown that pinyon juniper biomass could be effectively used as biomass in fast pyrolysis and red mud, an industrial waste could be used as catalyst in catalytic pyrolysis to improve the quality of the bio-oil.