Review of the Current State of Pyrolysis and Biochar Utilization in Europe: A Scientific Perspective

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Review of the Current State of Pyrolysis and Biochar Utilization in Europe: A Scientific Perspective


This study employed a methodology based on a bibliographic review of key articles pertaining to pyrolysis in Europe from the years 2021 to 2023. Scientific articles were sought on research platforms such as ScienceDirect and Web of Science, utilizing keywords such as “Pyrolysis”, “Europe”, “Biomass”, “Biochar”, and “Plastic Waste”. The search filters on these platforms were applied to include articles from European countries. Based on the initial investigation conducted using the search term “Pyrolysis and Europe”, the VosViewer tool was utilized to create maps that might help to integrate all the keywords from the scientific articles. Figure 1a shows the map generated, which resulted in the identification of four clusters. The first cluster included related words such as bio-oil, pyrolysis, conversion, gasification, and biomass gasification. The second cluster contained words such as circular economy, plastic waste, performance, recycling, and technologies. The third cluster included words such as biomass, energy, fuel, waste, and soil. Finally, the fourth and last cluster included words such as biochar, adsorption, and slow pyrolysis. Within each cluster, the words with the highest density of connections were pyrolysis, biomass gasification, biomass, biochar, and plastic waste. Furthermore, we observed connection points between certain words such as pyrolysis–biomass, pyrolysis–plastic waste, and biomass–biochar. Given this context, and following a quick search for each keyword in the literature, it was decided to use the following search equations: “Pyrolysis and Biomass” and “Pyrolysis and Plastic waste” due to the demand of the works found. Figure 1b was generated from the works found for the search equation “Pyrolysis and Biomass”, resulting in six major clusters with numerous keywords ranging from 64 to 19. Among the words with a higher density, in cluster 3, words such as biochar and pyrolysis stood out, while in cluster 4, broader terms such as biomass, biochar, temperature, and sewage sludge were prominent. The strongest connection between words was observed for biochar, sewage sludge, and biomass. In the search equation “Pyrolysis and Plastic Waste”, as shown in Figure 1c, six clusters were also obtained, featuring a variety of keywords (ranging from 35 to 15). The words with the highest density included pyrolysis, catalytic pyrolysis, polyethylene, and noteworthy relationships with plastic waste, biochar, and biomass pyrolysis. Given the abundance of keywords, a quick literature search was conducted to assess which works were most prevalent. Biomass and plastic topics within pyrolysis emerged prominently in titles and abstracts. In light of this investigation, it was decided to emphasize two approaches in this research: the utilization of biomass and plastic to perform pyrolysis followed by a focus on biochar, sewage sludge, and catalytic reforming as a technology. Despite the extensive range of topics associated with pyrolysis, the focus was narrowed down to technologies employed in Europe and the substrates used for pyrolysis product generation, with a specific emphasis on biochar.

The selected works predominantly focused on the pyrolysis of plastics and various biomass sources. To steer the investigation towards biochar, emphasis was given to studies with a primary objective of biochar production from sewage sludge, particularly those associated with phosphorus recovery—a recurrent technique in biochar utilization. Another focus applied in this study was the exploration of activities conducted using thermo-catalytic reforming (TCR), which has demonstrated promise for catalytic reforming in pyrolysis, enhancing the quality of the resulting products. This advancement further aids in the scaling-up process.

2.1. Plastic Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is an efficient and flexible method for extracting both energy and chemical value from waste materials, generating potentially valuable products suitable for future reuse. This flexibility is due to the possibility of maximizing a specific product by altering the reaction conditions of the process, such as the temperature, residence times, and pressure. To increase the contribution of pyrolysis within a circular economy, it is crucial to develop new methodologies [5]. The escalating use of plastics has become a significant environmental concern, with Europe accounting for approximately 17% of global plastic production, amounting to 62 million tons in 2018 [8].
Among the plastics produced in Europe, polypropylene (PP), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) comprise approximately half of the total production. In the same year, Europe collected 29.1 million tons of plastic waste, with 32.5% being recycled, 42.6% used in energy recovery facilities, and 25% ending up in landfill. The non-biodegradable nature of plastic presents significant environmental challenges, especially when disposed of in landfills [9].Although plastic recycling is perceived as a viable solution, its effectiveness is often compromised due to the incorporation of additives, and the quality of recycled plastic is frequently comparable to that of disposed plastic [9]. One potential solution to reduce plastic pollution is the conversion of plastic into synthetic fuel, achievable through the pyrolysis process. In general, the plastic wastes are converted into syngas, oil, and char, when they are treated at 500–650 °C. Mostly, plastic waste produces pyrolysis oil with identical physical properties (viscosity, calorific, and longer chain of hydrocarbons) to that of heavy oil [10].

In this context, the chemical recycling of plastic waste through pyrolysis is considered an attractive technology for reducing plastic waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting the circular economy. However, greater care must be taken when using mixed plastic wastes as feedstocks, as the use of such can lead to melting and agglomeration at lower heating rates, thus blocking key reactor components, as well as leading to the inconsistent or significant variation of final fuel properties.

Ortega et al. [11] conducted a study on the pyrolysis of surgical masks and filtering face piece masks (FFP2) commonly used during the 2020 pandemic. The masks were collected immediately after use and subjected to pyrolysis at temperatures of 450, 500, and 550 °C in a horizontal tubular furnace. The results demonstrated the influence of temperature on subproduct formation, particularly biochar. With increasing temperature, the concentration of biochar decreased for both surgical masks and FFP2 masks due to the increase in temperature promoting cracking reactions. The maximum bio-oil yield was observed at 500 °C, while the maximum syngas yield was obtained at 550 °C with yields of 50% bio-oil, 40% syngas, and 0.4% biochar w/w%. In addition, the major compound recovered in bio-oil was 2,4-Dimethyl-1-heptene during the thermal pyrolysis of masks (>10%). Furthermore, cembrane, 3-Eicosene, (E)-, 5-Eicosene, (E)-, and 1,2-Epoxyhexadecane appeared in a concentration greater than 3% in thermal pyrolysis bio-oils from face masks. For the biochar composition, a high carbon content was observed (from 50.0 to 70.9%), lower nitrogen (from 1.1 to 5.4%) and hydrogen content (from 3.1 to 9.4%), and no sulfur. The study also investigated the effect of using a low-cost catalyst, sepiolite, during pyrolysis. Generally, the use of sepiolite increased the syngas yield at the expense of bio-oil. Moreover, the catalytic pyrolysis led to an increase in the isoparaffinic content of the bio-oil, with a decrease in naphthenes and paraffins. The gases derived from the thermal and catalytic pyrolysis of surgical masks and FFP2 masks exhibited a molar composition of hydrocarbon (methane, ethane, ethylene, propane, and propyne) of over 75% that resulted in a high calorific value (over than 40 MJ Nm−3), making them suitable as fuels for various applications with methane (48.5%) as the main compound.
Ligeiro et al. [12] produced an activated carbon from biochar derived from the pyrolysis of a post-consumer contaminated mixture of plastic waste. The study examined different temperatures for the activation process at the lab scale. The main composition was liquid (oil, 57.3%), solid (char, 6.2%), and gas (36.5%). The results indicated that the temperature significantly influenced the CO2 adsorption uptake. Physical activation using N2 or CO2 showed the highest CO2 uptakes at 720 °C, while chemical activation required higher temperatures of 760 °C for KOH and 800 °C for NaOH. The chemical treatment with alkali hydroxide demonstrated superior results in developing a porous material, with KOH showing better performance than NaOH. Additionally, optimizing the char: KOH ratio revealed that a ratio of 2:1 yielded the highest CO2 uptake performance of 50 mg g−1. Still on the same issue of using discarded plastics and evaluating the potential of the products that can be obtained from pyrolysis, Palomar-Torres et al. [13] conducted a pyrolysis study on municipal plastic waste, focusing on the production of bio-oil and the use of catalysts, such as ZAP zeolite, at the lab scale. They discovered that the use of a catalyst reduced the production of pyrolysis oil and solid residues while slightly affecting the characteristics of the obtained oils, such as the calorific value, density, surface tension, and kinematic viscosity. The main composition of bio-oil was less than 0.1% for N and less than 0.5% for S, and consisted mainly of alkanes very similar to gasoline and diesel fuel with an elemental composition of 66% C and 10% H. Despite the reduction in the pyrolysis oil yield, the oil remained suitable for use in combustion engines or as fuel additives.
Considering that simulation using mathematical data can provide facilities for obtaining results and predicting behaviors, works in the field of pyrolysis like these have shown great promise. Yapici et al. [5] investigated gas production predictions in pyrolysis based on various conditions such as waste types, temperature, heating rate, catalyst type, and quantity. Mathematical models were utilized to predict the yield of pyrolysis gas products. The results indicated a strong negative correlation between liquid and gas product yields, a negative correlation between solid product yields and temperature, and a positive correlation between the heating rate and gas product yield. The efficiency of the pyrolysis process was found to depend on the process parameters, highlighting the need for intensive experimental work. Mathematical predictions, specifically Gaussian processes with an exponential kernel, exhibited superior performance in forecasting gas product yields, facilitating experiment optimization and increased productivity.
The utilization of waste plastics for hydrogen production through chemical recycling mechanisms, such as pyrolysis, offers innovative opportunities for creating a valuable product. Hydrogen serves as a versatile commodity chemical with applications in various industries, including oil refining, fertilizer manufacturing, plastics production, and pharmaceuticals. The demand for hydrogen is projected to increase in the clean energy sectors, such as road transportation and fuel cell utilization, as part of efforts to decarbonize the economy and mitigate climate change [14]. Aminu et al. [14] investigated hydrogen generation through non-thermal plasma/catalytic steam reforming of different types of real-world industrial and commercial waste plastics. Polyolefin plastics, including high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, and polypropylene, exhibited the highest hydrogen yields among the plastics tested. At the lab scale with a two-stage experimental reactor system, a 1st stage pyrolysis reactor and a 2nd stage non-thermal plasma reactor were implemented using pyrolysis. The results showed that the main H2 production was from HDPE plastic pyrolysis, with 18 mmol g−1 plastic and 43% of H2 composition. On the other hand, the PET and PS which contain aromatic groups in their structures produced the lowest amount of hydrogen, and for PET, a higher amount of CO and CO2.
The real-world application of plastic waste to produce value-added products was assessed in [15]. The authors produced bio-oil from non-chlorinated and non-brominated plastic waste derived from MSW (predominantly composed of PE, PP, and PS) and stored it for 5 years to evaluate its performance in CHP combustion engines. Pyrolysis of 5–7 tons of plastic waste was conducted in a 35 m³ rotary kiln operated at 400 °C, with the process initiated using diesel burners and sustained with non-condensable gases. In the reactor, bio-oil yields ranged from 45% to 55% (with a high content of alkenes) and a biochar yield smaller than 30% was observed. However, during storage, the authors noted that these compounds tended to polymerize, resulting in long-chain saturated hydrocarbons, consequently increasing the viscosity and boiling point of the bio-oil upon distillation. Polymerization led to an increase in the distillation temperature at atmospheric pressure, reaching 500 °C after a 5-year storage period, which was 125 °C higher than observed when the bio-oil was stored for 6 months. Overall, the bio-oil produced and stored for 5 years maintained characteristics similar to diesel, but with higher viscosity, sulfur content, nitrogen content, and water content, along with a lower flash point. Based on these findings, the authors highlighted that challenges still exist regarding the practical applications of bio-oil in current diesel combustion engines. Similarly, Januszewicz et al. [16] carried out the pyrolysis of PP and PS in a fixed-bed reactor operated between 400 and 500 °C, and obtained a bio-oil yield of over 90%. This fuel can not be directly used in diesel engines due to its low viscosity and flash point; however, the utilization of a mixture between PP bio-oil and diesel in proportions of 1:5 and 2:5 presents commercial feasibility as the emission characteristics and combustion profiles do not undergo significant changes.
Overall, these studies highlight the potential of pyrolysis as a promising technology for the chemical recycling of plastic waste. This technology enables the production of valuable products, a reduction in environmental impact, and a contribution to the circular economy. Table 1 provides a summary of the main pyrolysis technologies for plastics currently being carried out in Europe, while Figure 3 displays the countries carrying out these works. Further research and optimization of process parameters are necessary to enhance the efficiency and to provide environmental benefits, specifically with respect to scaling up and upgrading plastic derived bio-oils for compatibility as fuels in conventional unmodified engines. It is worth noting that, in addition to scientific research, some patents have been filed in European countries related to the pyrolysis of plastic waste. For example, Kyung’s [17] patent was deposited in European countries and addresses the selection of plastic waste containing polyethylene, polypropylene, or a mixture thereof. The plastic waste is passed through a pyrolysis reactor to thermally break down at least a portion of the polyolefin waste and produce a pyrolyzed effluent. The pyrolyzed effluent is separated into residual gas, a pyrolysis oil composed of naphtha, diesel, and heavy fractions, and charcoal. The focus is more on studying the process itself rather than the technologies used. The patent from Sudipto et al. [18] essentially discusses the plastic conversion process through pyrolysis, emphasizing the initial plastic melting and its subsequent use in the pyrolysis reactor, with a focus on maintaining the initial plastic homogeneity under specific conditions. In general, major petrochemical industries have been implementing plastic pyrolysis techniques, aiming for products similar to petrochemicals and the utilization of renewable energy.

2.2. Biomass Pyrolysis

The pyrolysis of biomass is a promising and environmentally sustainable approach for the conversion of renewable organic materials into valuable products. Biomass, such as agricultural residues, forestry waste, energy crops, and dedicated energy crops, offers significant potential as a feedstock for pyrolysis due to its abundance, low cost, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels. However, unlike plastic waste, biomass exhibits a high complexity in its chemical composition, which can vary among different types of biomass, directly impacting the distribution, composition, and applicability of the products [21]. Biochar from biomass pyrolysis can be utilized as a soil conditioner for the amendment of soil properties. Biochar improves soil fertility and carbon sequestration due to its physicochemical characteristics (alkalinity, specific surface area, high carbon concentration, adsorbent characteristics, etc.), while bio-oil can serve as a renewable source of liquid fuel or as a feedstock for further refinement into chemicals and materials. Syngas, consisting mainly of methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, has applications in heat and power (CHP) generation, platform chemical production for alcohols and methane, and liquid transportation fuels production through Fischer Tropsch, or can be used to produce heat both to sustain the parasitic heat load in the pyrolysis process as well as providing excess heat [21]. The versatility and wide range of potential applications make biomass pyrolysis an attractive pathway for achieving sustainable energy production within a biorefinery setting whilst mitigating climate change.
The cultivation of Miscanthus × giganteus (M × g) in soils contaminated with diesel was investigated by Burdová et al. [22] in the context of organic matter utilization and pyrolysis. M × g plants are known for their ability to grow in contaminated soils, and the plant material underwent pyrolysis. The study revealed that the specific surface area of biochar did not significantly change for leaves and roots. The CO2 (2–7% g/d.w. yield) and CO (1–4% g/d.w. yield) were the main evolved gases during pyrolysis, and significant differences in the gas composition were observed between below ground and above ground plant parts due to increasing contamination with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Although the product yields of pyrolysis (bio-oil, biochar, pyrolysis gas) were similar in contaminated and clean variants, significant differences were found in the surface area of biochar, gas quality, and bio-oil composition. The main representative compounds groups for bio-oil were acids, furans, ketones, phenols, and esters, with a 50% yield, and a 30–40% yield for biochar. Nevertheless, the biomass of M × g from diesel-contaminated soil can be considered a renewable source suitable for the production of green chemicals compared to biomass from non-polluted soils, since the carbon derived from diesel will be converted into biomass and subsequently into bio-products through pyrolysis.
The energy expenditure associated with pyrolysis and its compensatory potential in relation to the energetic products generated were investigated by Costa et al. [23]. The pyrolysis of spruce, pine, and larch residues at different particle ranges and temperatures was analyzed, focusing on bio-oil, synthesis gas, and biochar production, as well as the life cycle analysis of the overall process. The results showed a bio-oil yield of between 18 and 30%, while the synthesis gas was between 38 and 62% and biochar was 20–35%. The potential for acidification and eutrophication also exhibited a low environmental impact, thus extending the product’s life cycle. The total social cost per 1 MJ of bio-oil amounts to 0.16 euros, representing 17% of the total environmental cost of biofuel production. The study revealed that pyrolysis is indeed energy-intensive in terms of external heat consumption. However, the production of synthesis gas can provide the required conversion process heat through concurrent reuse, and the excess energy in the form of biochar can compensate for the electricity demand of the process. Another aspect often overlooked by researchers is the energy required for pre-treatment (drying of the biomass). Typically, biomass should be dried down as low as possible before pyrolysis to conserve energy and maximize pyrolysis efficiencies, with an average moisture content of the biomass ranging between 10 and 15 wt.% recommended before pyrolysis; therefore, questions concerning whether there is sufficient energy available within the bio-products to satisfy the pre-treatment heat demand of drying in addition to pyrolysis requires further investigation. Using externally sourced heat can dramatically impact the overall carbon intensity and sustainability of the process and therefore this must not be overlooked. One option to ensure sustainability is to utilize the energy from synthesis gas for pyrolysis and use biochar as a co-gasification fuel for the surplus heat production for drying biomass.
In the pursuit of organic materials for pyrolysis, Qiu et al. [6] investigated the co-pyrolysis of pig manure with Japanese knotweed (JK), an invasive plant. The study aimed to find a final disposal method for the plant while addressing the low carbon properties and risks associated with heavy metals (HMs) in manure-derived biochars. Different temperatures and substrate ratios were examined, and the co-pyrolysis biochar exhibited higher carbon fixation compared to biochar derived solely from pig manure. The biochar derived from pig manure achieved the highest yield at 400 °C, reaching around 50%. On the other hand, JK alone obtained the lowest yields (30–40%), while the combinations of both residues yielded results ranging from 35 to 45%. The biochar also demonstrated the ability to retain essential macronutrients, such as K, Ca, Mg, and P, highlighting its potential value. Pyrolysis preserved P, Ca, K, and Mg in biochars, as mineral alkali salts were released from the pyrolytic structure during the pyrolysis process. The combination of pig manure and JK in a 3:1 ratio produced biochar with approximately 60 gP kg−1. The presence of such metals in biochar opens an important route to new catalytic pyrolysis research, as these metals are all active catalysts known to effect pyrolysis behavior and the formation of specific end products, especially in bio-oil. Therefore, the manipulation of metals within the char can be an effective means of acquiring higher yields of the desired biofuel products.
Several pyrolysis technologies and reactor designs have been studied in the field of biomass conversion in Europe, aiming to obtain bio-products. Shi et al. [24] investigated the upgrading of vapors resulting from pyrolysis in a fluidized bed reactor operated at 0.5 kg h−1 and 500 °C, and integrated with a catalytic bed (HZSM + Al2O3 and Y-zeolite + Al2O3). The experiments observed that the biochar yield was 19%. The bio-oil yield was 50%, and the synthesis gas yield was 31% for the non-catalytic process, while the use of a catalytic bed resulted in a reduction in the bio-oil yield. The condensable vapors resulting from pyrolysis in the catalytic bed were deoxygenated and produced water-insoluble compounds (heavy bio-oil at 4–10% and light bio-oil at 21–25%) and valuable compounds, such as naphthalene and olefins, that were not obtained in the experiments without a catalyst; however, the catalysts resulted in a notable concentration of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The synthesis gas was mainly composed of CH4, CO, and CO2, with an increase in CO production when the catalytic bed was used. That can be attributed to the hydrocarbon deoxygenation. Johansson et al. [25] demonstrated that the co-refining of bio-oil produced from fast pyrolysis (ablative pyrolysis pilot plant) of willow (Salix spp.) can be feasible. In this study, pyrolysis produced 42.5% bio-oil, 13.6% biochar, and 21.9% syngas. The bio-oil refinement was carried out through fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) with a 1:5 mixture of bio-oil to conventional fossil feed. The products were composed mainly of gasoline/naphta, and the C14 analysis showed that the bio-oil produced 18% coke, 44% liquid, and 38% gas. However, the success in gasoline conversion revealed a reduction in the yield of gasoline/naphtha compared to the use of conventional fossil FCC feed. Chataigner et al. [26] developed and evaluated a new reactor design for biochar production through the partial oxidation (equivalence ratio of 0.09–0.12) of pyrolysis gases. The developed reactor consists of concentric cylinders that separate the pyrolysis zones and utilize the gas produced by the pyrolysis itself to generate heat for the decomposition reactions, rendering the reactor autothermic. This reactor can produce 19–21% biochar, 48–56% synthesis gas, and 20–27% bio-oil from pine bark with diameters ranging from 4 to 15 mm.
These studies enhance the comprehension of organic matter conversion via pyrolysis, demonstrating the potential of various waste biomass sources and pyrolysis technologies, and highlighting their application in sustainable and value-added processes. Furthermore, it is important to highlight that there are still improvements to be made for the effective application of products from the pyrolysis biomass, particularly in utilizing bio-oil to produce biofuels within the current refining processes of the petrochemical industry, as well as advancing the current TRLs of the most promising technologies, as most studies were carried out at relatively early stage TRLs. Table 2 shows a summary of the main scientific works with pyrolysis technologies for biomass that are currently being carried out in Europe. The map in Figure 3 makes it possible to visualize which countries are carrying out these works.

Table 2.
Overview of key pyrolysis parameters for biomass pyrolysis.

Table 2.
Overview of key pyrolysis parameters for biomass pyrolysis.

Number in Map Type of Pyrolisis Feedstock Product Reactor Type TRL Level * Temperature Reference
9 Slow Refuse-derived fuel, paper, sewage sludge, and rubber, and waste wood biomass (hornbeam leaves, pine, and spruce bark) Biochar Tube-furnace heated; lab Scale 2–3 300 °C [27]
10 Slow Sewage sludge Biochar P recuperation Pilot plant designed and operated by RE-CORD, called SPYRO (Slow Pyrolysis Reactor)—auger type reactor 4–5 450 °C [28]
11 Fast Energy crop Miscanthus × giganteus (M × g) Biochar
Bio-oil
Syngas
Muffle oven (LAC, Ht205) (a), a glass tube used as a reactor (b), cooler with flowing cold water (c), round bottom flask (d) three wash bottles filled with acetone (e) 2–3 600 °C [22]
12 Slow and Intermediate Spruce, pine, and larch Biochar
Bio-oil
Syngas
Lab-scale cylindrical fixed-bed pyrolysis chamber 2–3 300, 400 and 500 °C [23]
13 Slow Pig manure and invasive plant Japanese knotweed Biochar Fixed-bed slow pyrolysis experiments were conducted with a modular stainless steel container 2–3 400–700 °C [6]
14 Slow Disposal of waste-activated sludge from wastewater treatment of an effluent from five milk processing plant Biochar Quartz tube reactor (wrapped with a heating tape and high-temperature insulation) coupled with a condenser cooler (cooled through circulation of a refrigerated liquid at 0 °C) and a twin-neck round-bottom receiving flask where the pyrolysis liquid was collected 2–3 and 4–5 600–700 °C [7]
15 Intermediate Hardwood pellets, softwood pellets, and chips Biochar
Bio-oil
Syngas
TCR reactors 2–3 400 °C and 500 °C. [29]
16 Intermediate Spent coffee grounds Syngas (H2)
Bio-oil
TCR reactors 2–3 500 and 700 °C [30]
17 Intermediate Sewage Sludge Bio-oil TCR reactors 4–5 450 °C pyrolysis and 700 °C post-reforming temperature [31]
18 Intermediate Sewage sludge Bio-oil
Biochar
Syngas
TCR reactors 4–5 500–600 °C and 700 °C [32]
19 Fast Sawdust Biochar
Bio-oil
Syngas
Fluidized bed 2–3 500 °C [24]
20 Fast Willow (Salix spp.) Biochar
Bio-oil
Syngas
Abrative reactor 4–5 750 °C [25]
21 Intermediate Pine bark Biochar
Bio-oil
Syngas
Pyrolysis prototype named “Ariane” composed by an interlocking of three cylinders forming three distinct temperature zones 2–3 350 °C pyrolysis zone inlet
780 °C maximum temperature
[26]
It is also worth noting that numerous patents are being filed with biomass throughout Europe, such as a patent from Carsten [33], which outlines a friction-based biomass pyrolysis process where friction itself heats the biomass and initiates the pyrolysis. There are also patents discussing the reforming process of pyrolysis byproducts, exemplified in a patent from Paradowski [34], which involves treating the gas derived from pyrolysis of both biomass and plastic through different washes and drying methods. Pyrolysis and its byproducts have already found applications in major industries, showcasing their significant potential for energy generation and producing value-added products. Table 3 presents several European industries actively engaged in the market employing pyrolysis, utilizing feedstocks such as biomass and plastics. The table includes information on the TRL and the European country of operation, providing an overview of large-scale pyrolysis operations in Europe. These details illustrate the dissemination of both pyrolysis research and its industrial applications, emphasizing their significance in the global energy transition. Furthermore, this information underscores the role played by European countries in this transition. In Figure 3, it is possible to visualize the countries detailed in Table 3.

Table 3.
Pyrolysis-engaged industries in the market.

Table 3.
Pyrolysis-engaged industries in the market.

Number in Map Company Feedstock Products TRL * Country
22 Biorizon-TNO Lignocelullosic biomass Bio-aromatics 4–5 The Netherlands
23 Project AquaGreen PCE Sewage sludge Syngas; biochar 6–7 Denmark
24 Springkildeprojektet Agricultural waste Syngas; Biochar 6–7 Denmark
25 BTGBioliquids Biomass: sawdust, sunflower husk, roadside grass, and straw Bio-oil 8–9 The Netherlands
26 GreenEco Tire plastic Bio-oil, biochar, syngas, steel 8–9 Estonia
27 Modulbg Tire plastic Bio-oil, biochar, syngas, steel 8–9 Bulgaria
28 NGE material morphing technology Sewage sludge Coke, Syngas 8–9 Austria
29 Fraunhofer Biomass and plastic Bio-oil; Syngas 4–5 Gerseveral
30 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Plastic Bio-oil; Syngas 4–5 Gerseveral
31 VTT Technical research center of Finland Biomass and plastic Bio-oil- 4–5 Finland

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