Waste to energy valorization of poultry litter by slow pyrolysis


Slow pyrolysis tests on poultry litter were carried out in the range 400–800 °C.

The main products (gas, two liquid phases and char) were quantified and characterized.

The fate of the elements (in particular nitrogen and sulphur) was investigated.

The energy transfer from the substrate to the product fractions was investigated.


The slow pyrolysis process of poultry litter was investigated using different experimental and analytical techniques. A fixed bed reactor was used for the simulation of the slow pyrolysis process up to a constant temperature (400–800 °C) under nitrogen flow. Yields of the different product fractions were determined. On-line FTIR techniques were used to detect the most significant compounds in the evolved gas (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane). GC–MS results allowed the identification of the more important categories of compounds in the liquid condensate (phenols, fatty acids, sterols, N-containing compounds). The fate of nitrogen and sulphur, present in relevant amounts in the original substrate, was investigated: sulphur remains mostly in char at any investigated temperature, while nitrogen is split among the different products, slightly increasing its transfer to the gas phase only at higher pyrolysis temperatures. The energy transfer from the original biomass substrate to the different product fractions was also investigated. The fraction of biomass energy transferred to non-condensable gases raises with pyrolysis temperature and was estimated to be able to thermally sustain the process at 550 °C. The results obtained shed some light on the potential use of the slow pyrolysis process for sanitation and waste-to-energy valorization of poultry litter.


  • Poultry litter;
  • Slow pyrolysis;
  • Waste;
  • Element fate analysis;
  • Biofuel

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