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Comparison of bio-oils derived from crop digestate treated through conventional and microwave pyrolysis as an alternative route for further waste valorization

Diaz Perez, Nidia; Lindfors, Christian; van den Broek, Lambertus A.M.; van der Putten, Jacinta; Meredith, William; Robinson, John


Nidia Diaz Perez

Christian Lindfors

Lambertus A.M. van den Broek

Jacinta van der Putten

John Robinson


A total of 120,000 tonnes per year of crop waste from contaminated land has been used as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion (AD). This produces only around 20% of biogas from the total crop and results in a large amount of digestate with heavy metal content. This crop digestate was analyzed across a calendar year to identify the variation in composition, and any potential high-value components that could be targeted for recovery. The chemical characterization revealed that approximately 65% of this residual waste is lignocellulosic material (20% hemicellulose, 24% cellulose, 24% lignin) and about 10% is ash, with no observable difference across the seasons. Three different pyrolysis technologies were studied with the same crop digestate as alternative route to maximize the value of this solid residue by transforming this lignocellulosic material into further bio-based products. Slow pyrolysis at operating temperatures between 355 and 530 °C resulted in bio-oil yields of 35–46% wt, fast pyrolysis at 460–560 °C produced 36–40% wt, and microwave pyrolysis using a power input of 500 and 700 W generated 8–27% wt from the digestate. Chemical compounds found in these bio-oils were categorized into seven chemical groups: acids, aldehydes and ketones, alcohols, furans, sugars, phenolics, and others. This analytical study opens other scenarios to explore the upgrading of these pyrolytic bio-oils for green product generation from the same waste.


Diaz Perez, N., Lindfors, C., van den Broek, L. A., van der Putten, J., Meredith, W., & Robinson, J. (2023). Comparison of bio-oils derived from crop digestate treated through conventional and microwave pyrolysis as an alternative route for further waste valorization. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 12, 2023
Publication Date Jan 12, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 14, 2023
Journal Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery
Print ISSN 2190-6815
Electronic ISSN 2190-6823
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Anaerobic digestion; Decarbonization; Lignocellulose; Circular economy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 5 October 2022; Revised: 15 December 2022; Accepted: 22 December 2022; First Online: 12 January 2023; Change Date: 1 February 2023; Change Type: Correction; Change Details: A Correction to this paper has been published; Ethical approval: Not applicable. The authors declare no competing interests.


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