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Pyrolysis oil can be used as a fuel in gas turbines [1], but modifications will be required. Most comprehensive development was probably carried out by Orenda (Magellan Aerospace), but also developements can be found in Germany (University of Rohstock), Italy (University of Florence) and the Netherlands (OPRA turbines).

Gas turbine development at Magellan Aerospace


Canadian company Magellon - Orenda modified a 2.5 MWe gas turbine to enable pyrolysis oil as a fuel . This turbine was originally designed by Mashproekt in Ukraine [2]. After preliminary tests on atomisation, atmospheric flame tunnel and furnace testing, the burner nozzle was modified by adding a third passage. Materials have been modified to make components compatible with the corrosive characteristics and acidity of pyrolysis oil. A complete gas turbine package including heat recovery unit and fuel pretreatment skid was delivered and installed at the Dynamotive [3] demonstration site in West-Lorne. Regretfully, due to the lack of sufficient production of pyrolysis oil the turbine has hardly been operated on pyrolysis oil. During testing and development Orenda also tested other biofuels as well as pyrolysis oil from Ensyn [4]. Typical performance data is given below [1]

Typical performance data for different fuels in an Orenda Turbine
Fuel Fuel Flow Electrical output Inlet Temperature Outlet Temperature CO NOx SO2
ltr/hr kWe oC oC ppm ppm ppm
Diesel 1,071 2510 -3 403 1 321 7
Ethanol 1,800 2,510 2 415 3 101 2
Biodiesel 1,200 2,550 11 467 4 321 1
Pyrolysis Oil (Ensyn) 1,800 2,650 -10 420 55 60 1
Pyrolysis Oil (Dynamotive) 1,833 2,510 -2 417 49 57 2

OPRA Turbine

OPRA Turbines is a Dutch company based in Hengelo, the Netherlands. It develops, manufactures, markets and maintains generator sets in the 2 MW power range using the OP16 series of gas turbines. The OP16 gas turbine is of an all-radial design, which provides robustness, reliability and highest efficiency in its class. A key feature of the OP16 gas turbine is the ability to utilize a wide range of fuels. The combustion of pyrolysis has been tested. It was found that between 70% to 100% load it is possible to burn 100% pyrolysis oil without the need of mixing it with ethanol. Based on this research OPRA has been able to design a new combustor for burning pyrolysis oil and other low-calorific fuels. The new combustor is large enough to provide sufficient residence time for complete combustion of the pyrolysis oil. [2], [3], [4] . Results from their tests are given below:

Performance data for different fuels in a single combustor chamber of a OPRA Turbine
Fuel Fuel flow NOx CO
kg/hr g/kWh g/kWh
Diesel 23.4 3.9 0.56
Ethanol 34.9 2.4 0.17
Pyrolysis Oil (BTG Bioliquids) [5] 61.2 3.9 1.1


  1. Test results of the OGT2500 gas turbine engine running on alternative fuels: biooil, ethanol, biodiesel and crude oil, V. Lupandin, A. Nikolayev, R. Thamburai, Proceedings of GT2005 ASME Turbo Expo 2005; Biomass based cogen plant rated at 2.5 MW and 12,000 pph steam, Colin Ashmore, Gas turbine world, August-September 2004
  2. Application of pyrolysis oil in the OP16 gas turbine-feasibility study, Martin Beran, Lars-Uni Axelsson, PyNe Newsletter No 33, pp 12-13
  3. Application of pyrolysis oil in the OP16 gas turbine-developemnt of a low calorific fuel combustor, Martin Beran, Lars-Uno Axelsson, PyNe Newsletter No 35, pp 16-17
  4. Development and experimental investigation of a tubular combustor for pyrolysis oil burning, Martin Beran & Lars-Uno Axelsson, Proceedings of ASME Turbo Expo 2014, 2014, GT2014-26343