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Environmental Engineering Research 2019;24(2): 354-361. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.269
Optimizing slow pyrolysis of banana peels wastes using response surface methodology
Godfrey Omulo1,2  , Noble Banadda1, Isa Kabenge1, and Jeffrey Seay3
1Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
2Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Universität Hohenheim (490), 70593 Stuttgart, Germany
3Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, Paducah, KY, USA
Corresponding Author: Godfrey Omulo ,Tel: +254-723-215-608, Email: omuloh@gmail.com
Received: August 2, 2018;  Accepted: September 15, 2018.
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Renewable energy from biomass and biodegradable wastes can significantly supplement the global energy demand if properly harnessed. Pyrolysis is the most profound modern technique that has proved effective and efficient in the energy conversion of biomass to yield various products like bio-oil, biochar, and syngas. This study focuses on optimization of slow pyrolysis of banana peels waste to yield banana peels vinegar, tar and biochar as bio-infrastructure products. Response surface methodology using central composite design was used to determine the optimum conditions for the banana wastes using a batch reactor pyrolysis system. Three factors namely heating temperature (350-550oC), sample mass (200-800 g) and residence time (45-90 min) were varied with a total of 20 individual experiments. The optimal conditions for wood vinegar yield (48.01%) were 362.6oC, 989.9 g and 104.2 min for peels and biochar yield (30.10%) were 585.9oC, 989.9 g and 104.2 min. The slow pyrolysis showed significant energy conversion efficiencies of about 90% at p-value ≤ 0.05. These research findings are of primary importance to Uganda considering the abundant banana wastes amounting to 17.5 million tonnes generated annually, thus using them as pyrolysis feedstock can boost the country’s energy status.
Keywords: Biochar | Optimization | Renewable energy | Response surface methodology | Wood vinegar
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