The Ulysses Slow Pyrolysis System

The Burning Issue

Waste biomass from a variety of industries is not being managed correctly, resulting in lost economic and environmental opportunities.

The Choice

IRSI is presenting an option to those that want to tap into the value of residual biomass and unlock the potential of biochar.

Innovative or Ignore

Through the Ulysses Slow Pyrolysis System access the biomass to biochar value chain or allow your biomass to be wasted.

Environmental Benefits of Operating the Ulysses Slow Pyrolysis System Over a Year

Biomass Diverted (tonnes/yr)

Biochar Offsets (tonnes/yr)

Carbon Sequestered From Tree Seedlings

Carbon Sequestered From Barrels of Oil

*Numbers will vary based on feedstock, end use for char, and operating parameters for Ulysses.

Acceptance of a wide variety of feedstock through our unique drag-chain conveyer design.

Past initial startup, the process is entirely closed loop and does not require any input energy making the Ulysses self sustaining giving it a minimal environmental footprint.

The Benefits Are Clear

Economic Benefits

The Ulysses system thermally converts waste biomass to biochar. There are numerous scenarios where this process is a viable option for private industry and public entities alike. The agriculture and forestry sector has underutilized biomass that is decomposing on fields which converting into biochar could offset tons of carbon and generate significant revenue through the sale of raw biochar. The lumber industry produces significant residual biomass waste and would be able to offset significant carbon emissions, generate thermal energy for onsite applications, and access significant revenue through the sale of raw biochar. The waste management industry currently receives a tipping fee for all wood material they accept at a landfill or diversion site. This material when thermally treated with the Ulysses system will produce a quality biochar material that again offsets significant carbon emissions and will generate tremendous economic returns through the sale of raw biochar. All of these scenarios lead to the increased production of raw biochar, which will fuel the burgeoning industries in the bio-product space that are fueled by biochar.

Developing industries and applications for biochar include:

  • Soil conditioner or amendment
  • Food additive
  • Source material for graphene production
  • Cosmetic applications
  • Coal replacement
  • Absorbent
  • Bio-filter
  • Pozzolan replacement for concrete
  • Bio-composite additive
  • Organic growth medium
  • Sustainable insulation additive
  • Compost additive
  • Air de-contaminator
  • Humidity regulator
  • Pesticide filter
  • Paints
  • Medical applications

Environmental Benefits

The Ulysses Slow Pyrolysis System utilizes residual waste wood to produce high quality biochar material. For every ton of waste wood prevented from naturally decomposing on the land or in a landfill 1.1 carbon dioxide equivalent offsets will be prevented from entering the carbon cycle. The end application of the biochar material will also have a dramatic impact on the total amount of carbon prevented from entering the atmosphere. Land applied biochar can generate two to four carbon dioxide equivalent offset tons for every ton of land applied. Biochar utilized as a food additive for livestock will have a direct effect on the methane produced during the animals digestive process and will ultimately increase the inert carbon stored in the soil once excreted from the animals. Biochar as a coal replacement in certain scenarios will have a significant impact on the overall carbon emitted through the operation of coal power plants (these figures will vary depending on the full scope of a life cycle assessment). Biochar as a partial replacement for pozzolan and cement in concrete mixtures can have a dramatic impact on the carbon emitted during limestone extraction process and the final concrete product as well. Numerous applications for biochar will be listed below but these key applications showcase the viability of biochar to reduce carbon emissions. Methane can also be positively impacted by biochar applications and interactions of biochar with soil minerals could further increase its stability in soil, in addition to contributing to carbon sequestration over time.

Methane has a global warming potential of 25 when compared to carbon at 1 and between 1970 and 2010 methane emissions have increased by 20%. Methane emissions are of primary concern with regard to global warming and climate change. There is a range of key methane emission sources; biomass burning and landfills make up 19% of overall sources in this range. IRSI’s Ulysses system will reduce biomass burning and landfilling by redirecting biomass material. This will begin to reduce methane emissions through reduced biomass burning and landfilling, while simultaneously reducing methane emissions through the application of biochar. The main source of wholesale biochar is to purchasers for soil amendment applications and as such will increase the soils ability to reduce methane emissions. Methanotrophy refers to the oxidation and consumption of methane by aerobic protoeobacteria. Oxidation of methane by aerobic soils provides a significant sink for methane. As mentioned above the land applied biochar can be quantified conservatively at 2.0 CO2 equivalent offsets, there still remains significant research to show accurate measurements of methane reduction through land applied biochar. However, biochar applications have been shown to enhance soil aeration, soil-moisture content and increase methane diffusion to soil that decreases anoxic conditions, which leads to decreased methane production and increased methane oxidation.

Computational Fluid Dynamics

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is the use of applied mathematics, physics and computational software to visualize how a gas or liquid flows as well as how the gas or liquid affects objects as it flows past them. IRSI is utilizing CFD software to generate a 3D simulation of the slow pyrolysis process. This work is at the leading edge of engineering design and modeling and sets IRSI apart from competing technology providers. Without numerous iterations of system configurations traditional technology providers have no method to validate ideal operating conditions or associated configurations. IRSI has forged ahead with CFD modeling to limit the unknowns through the fabrication of our Ulysses Slow Pyrolysis System for specific client demands. IRSI is moving towards the ability to collect information from customers on their feedstock characteristics, tailor the Ulysses configuration in 3D virtual space, and determine the final characteristics of the biochar produced. Through this process IRSI will obviate a number of issues associated with the traditional trial and error approach to biochar production. With pyrolysis being a relatively simple process and the small-scale production of biochar being achievable with low-tech approaches, CFD modeling has not yet been widely employed in this industry. IRSI is aimed at revolutionizing large-scale continuous feed production of biochar with an emphasis on the utilization of residual biomass. In pursuit of this goal IRSI has brought on a globally recognized CFD engineer, Hassan Khodaie.