Simulation of Food Waste Pyrolysis for the Production of Biochar: A Qatar Case Study

S. Elkhalifa, A. AlNouss, Tareq Al-Ansari, Hamish Mackey, Prakash Parthasarathy, Gordon Mckay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


One-third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, amounting to 1.3 billion tonnes per year. Food waste contains many constituents, which makes it a promising source for fuels and chemicals production. Moreover, the State of Qatar, which is situated in a hyper arid region is characterized by a disproportionate distribution of resources. It is rich in natural energy resources, but suffers from water scarcity and its natural environment does not encourage food production. Qatar's economy continues to expand rapidly and faces a number of environmental challenges which include the management and disposal of wastes that are generated by industrial and domestic activities. As such, the pyrolysis of biomass waste and food waste specifically is a viable option to transform waste, which would have otherwise been disposed into the natural environment, into value-added products which can be utilized to enhance resource efficiency, especially water. In this work, the pyrolysis of different food waste has been simulated using Aspen Plus software to produce value-added biochar products. The pyrolysis of food waste in steady-state mode has been studied using a yield reactor, in the 300–600 °C temperature range, by feeding five types of food waste with different ultimate and proximate properties. In addition, the optimum feedstock is identified in which the objective is to optimize food waste blends for maximizing solids to syngas ratio. The optimization results indicated an increase in the yield of the solid biochar product from 36.56% to 41.81%, while both the ash and carbon content decreased slightly. These findings open the doors to the transformation of food waste into value-added biochar via pyrolysis. Furthermore, the produced chars can be utilized in carbon sequestration when applied as soil amendment and as precursors for higher value-added products such as adsorbents.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
ISSN (Print)1570-7946



  • Biochar
  • Food Waste
  • Optimization
  • Pyrolysis
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this

Elkhalifa, S., AlNouss, A., Al-Ansari, T., Mackey, H., Parthasarathy, P., & Mckay, G. (2019). Simulation of Food Waste Pyrolysis for the Production of Biochar: A Qatar Case Study. In Computer Aided Chemical Engineering (pp. 901-906). (Computer Aided Chemical Engineering; Vol. 46). Elsevier B.V..