A Simple Application of Pyrolysis

2 min readMar 19, 2021
Photo by Armando Ascorve Morales on Unsplash

There are many pyrolysis applications, such as converting waste plastics into usable oil, cooking foods, or drying coals in energy generators. I want to talk about pyrolysis that is related to energy.

Pyrolysis or easily called carbonization is a process to remove water and volatile materials then leaving a solid or liquid residue that contains mostly carbon. Why do we only need carbon? Because carbon is used for the combustion process to generate energy. In the ideal condition, carbon plus oxygen will produce carbon dioxide plus energy.

A simple burning/combustion chemical process

C + O2 = CO2 + Heat
Carbon + Oxygen = Carbon Dioxide + Heat (Energy)

*Actual condition is not as simple as the above equation.

One of the examples of pyrolysis is dry woods. The purpose of pyrolysis in this case is to make the material (woods) to be easily burned when it’s needed. The woods heated until 300–400 Celsius degrees until the water in the woods evaporated. Usually, it’s signed by the color changes to black. The process is with minimum oxygen because we don’t want oxidation reactions to happen in the pyrolysis. The product of the pyrolysis is dried wood with mostly carbon.

Pyrolysis on wood
6C10 H15 O7 + Heat = C50 H10 O + 10CH2O
(Wood) = (Charred wood) + (Gas)

With a large amount of Carbon in wood, so the carriage wood is easier to burn. (yg)