04/30/2022 at 23:43 •
The next test is to see if solar thermal energy will work for pyrolysis. A magnifying glass on a stand, test tube and brick acted as an alpha proof of concept prototype. As documented in the image below, dry leaves (the biomass) were placed in a test tube and sealed to act as the thermal chamber. A large magnifying glass on a stand was used to focus sun light onto the leaves in the tube. With patience, some refocusing and several second degree burns, the leaves began to biodegrade in the test tube. The leaves began with a slight smoke visible in the tube, after which the leaves continued to thermally degrade until all the leaf material was reduced to a charcoal. The good news is the leaves were reduced to charcoal and not ash which means the pyrolysis process works. Now on to a sturdier prototype version.
04/30/2022 at 20:58 •
To become more familiar with pyrolysis, an experiment was performed and documented in the image below. Sticks were gathered (the biomass) and placed in the can and sealed with aluminum foil and a second larger can. The can was placed in a fire to provide the heat. When the canister heated to a high enough temperature, around 200 degrees Celsius, a gas started leaking from the bottom of the canister and burned with an orange/blue flame. The gas will be around 25% hydrogen. This process is very similar to gasification of wood, sometimes used to power internal combustion engines. After the canister cooled, the canister was opened and the sticks were biodegraded into charcoal.