Modelling of rotary kiln pyrolyzer for the production of char and energy services from biomass

Making Pyrolysis Pay: Modelling for improved design and operation.

Char brings added value from "waste" biomass, e.g. as feedstock to "omnivorous" gasifiers for biofuels (2nd generation biofuels from thermochemical processes). Charring the biomass allows smoother, more secure feedstock supply and gasifier operation, due to:

  • Stable storage for biomass while preserving carbon content (for increased fuel yields)
  • Facilitated biomass handling, size reduction and gasifier operation


  • Preserving energy efficiency is critical
  • Large operation is labour intensive and costly
  • Better design should be helped by realistic modelling

The successful candidate will develop a model that can realistically describe the operation of a rotary kiln pyrolyser, comparable to the tonne/day demonstration scale unit currently in operation at the UK Biochar Centre.

The model should incorporate solid motion, heat transfer (incl. radiative), computational fluid dynamics and kinetics of pyrolysis reactions, using EDEM Ltd’s Discrete Element Modelling software.

Further Information: 

Principal Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. A background in chemical engineering or allied discipline, as well as good mathematical skills are strongly recommended. English Language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Strong candidates may be considered for full EPSRC funding - open to UK/EU candidates only.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: