Thermochemical Users Facility


The Thermochemical Users Facility (TCUF) at NREL has state-of-the-art equipment for thermochemical process development and testing, ranging from catalyst and feedstock characterizations to bench-scale reactors to pilot plants. We welcome partners who wish to collaborate on research and development efforts or to use our equipment to test their materials and processes.


Thermochemical Process Development Unit - Pyrolysis

The Thermochemical Process Development Unit (TCPDU) is used to test biomass pyrolysis technologies at the pilot scale. The TCPDU can be configured for fast pyrolysis and catalytic pyrolysis. An entrained flow reactor is used to generate the pyrolysis vapors, cyclones to collect char and ash, and a spray condensation train to collect the final products. A recirculating regenerating reactor can be used to catalytically upgrade the pyrolysis vapors. Online analytical capabilities include molecular beam mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, thermal conductivity detection, and nondispersive infrared. Partners can use the TCPDU to test catalysts or bring in their own unit operations to attach to the TCPDU to test their pyrolysis technologies.


Thermochemical Process Development Unit - Gasification

The TCPDU is also used to test biomass gasification technologies at the pilot scale. In the gasification configuration, the TCPDU is comprised of a fluid bed reactor for initial volatilization of biomass, a thermal cracker to complete gasification, cyclones for char and ash collection, and a gas scrubbing system. Three different reforming reactors are available and can be used independently or in parallel: fluid bed, packed bed and recirculating regenerating reactor. Online analytical capabilities include molecular beam mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, thermal conductivity detection, and nondispersive infrared. Partners can use the TCPDU to test catalysts or bring in their own skid to attach to the TCPDU to test syngas upgrading technologies.