Home » Information Hub Topics » What is pyrolysis?

What is pyrolysis?

Pyrolysis is a thermochemical treatment for physically separating organic matter into different molecules. The process involves placing the material into an environment devoid of oxygen and heating it at extremely high temperatures, resulting in decomposition and formation of new molecules.

Most commonly applied to biomass, pyrolysis is the first step in the gasification or combustion processes, which produces biochar, a carbon-rich, solid residue. In its most extreme form, the method leaves mostly carbon waste.

Pyrolysis has been used for turning wood into charcoal since ancient times, and up until the 20th century, it was one of the primary sources of methanol. Recently, scientific breakthroughs have allowed us to utilise this age-old process to make two valuable emissions-free products — biochar and syngas (extremely dense hydrogen).

Using Pyrolysis To Create Hydrogen

Today, we can use pyrolysis to turn biomass into 100% emissions-free hydrogen. This is achieved by heating the organic waste in an oxygenless chamber until syngas and a charcoal like substance known as biochar is created. Then, the syngas is easily captured and filtered into pure hydrogen.

The carbon produced is not emitted back into the atmosphere but absorbed by the remaining waste (biochar), which has applications in the livestock, agriculture, and construction industries.

For these reasons, pyrolysis is widely considered to be one of the most viable solutions for western governments decarbonising the energy industry and producing green power on a global scale.

The Process

Biowaste, Sawdust And Wood Chips

Heat The Biomass In An Environment Absent Of Oxygen.

The Benefits of Pyrolysis

  • By using this method, we are literally able to turn waste into revenue in a 100% emissions-free way.
  • Biochar is a charcoal-like substance leftover from heating the organic waste and is predicted to become a US$3.1 billion industry by 2025. This material is multifunctional with a strong market demand across a variety of sectors — livestock (feed), agriculture (fertiliser) and construction (cement).
  • Currently, syngas is forecasted to become a US$66.5 billion market by 2027 as it is profoundly rich in hydrogen. Once captured, it can be filtered into large amounts of green hydrogen that can be sold both domestically and internationally — a market estimated to be worth US$201 billion by 2025.

Speak To Our Experts

We are passionate about helping businesses realise their full potential and connecting key players to drive impact at scale, so reach out if you have an idea or want to join us in the green energy revolution.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up to join the hydrogen revolution today and receive exclusive investment opportunities.

Hear It First!

Sign up to receive exclusive investment opportunities, free educational resources and the latest news on the green hydrogen space.