Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 12 No. 1, June 2000, p. 86-94
OIL PALM SHELL AS A SOURCE OF PHENOL
Oil palm shell was pyrolysed in an externally heated 5 cm diameter, 30 cm high fluidized-bed fast pyrolysis reactor with nitrogen as the fluidization gas and silica sand as the bed material. The products obtained were liquid oil, solid char and gas. The pyrolysis reactor bed temperature was maintained at 500°C with a fluidization gas flow rate of 1.26 m³ hr-1 because this was found to be the optimum condition for maximum liquid product yield. The maximum liquid product was found to be 58 wt% of dry oil palm shell feed. The liquid was a single-phase product. The liquid was characterized by FT-IR, GC/FID and GC-MS for its detailed chemical composition. From the analyses, the liquid was found to contain a very high concentration of phenol and its derivatives, viz., cresol, catechol, guaiacols, syringol, eugenol: 43.3 wt% of total liquid oil. All these are considered to be very high-value chemicals from the point of view of value and price. Thus, an appropriate separation and extraction method is required to find out how to obtain these chemicals, especially phenol, from the pyrolysis oil.KEYWORDS:
* Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,
81310 UTM, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia.