IRDA, in collaboration with Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ), has developed and patented a vertical auger pyrolysis reactor. The experimental pyrolysis unit, installed at IRDA’s laboratory for developing energy for sustainable agriculture (LEAD), is an extremely efficient and versatile piece of equipment used to validate the parameters for rapid pyrolysis treatment of agricultural biomass and other waste materials.

A versatile technology that contributes to the fight against climate change

Pyrolysis, a method for the thermochemical conversion of biomass, is carried out at high temperatures (350° to 700°C) in the absence of oxygen. It produces a solid biochar, a liquid bio-oil, and non-condensable gases.

With a heating value of up to 25 MJ/kg, bio-oil can be used to replace fossil fuels in heating units.

Biochar can function as an amendment when applied to farm soil. In addtion, it can sequester carbon and contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions. It also promotes soil porosity, nutrient adsorption, and water retention, and helps maintain appropriate pH levels.

Pyrolysis Unit
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Replacing fossil fuels with less polluting renewable energies

Pyrolysis has been successfully used to produce pyrolytic oils and biochar from biomass and various residues, such as:

  • wood,
  • switch grass,
  • potato waste,
  • solid fraction of swine slurry, and
  • plastics.

The technology has also been used to produce fuel for no. 2 oil heating systems.

Bio-stimulants and bio-pesticides

Production of plant growth biostimulants from oils obtained by pyrolysis

The most recent research involves

  • developing pyrolytic oil formulations with increased biostimulant activity, and
    assessing the biostimulation activity of formulations used in foliar applications.

Developing the pesticide potential of oils derived from the pyrolysis of biomass residues

Other projects:

  • Producing “green” pesticides that are as effective as traditional synthetic products
  • Assessing the biopesticide potential of pyrolytic oils


IRDA is always on the lookout for companies wishing to collaborate with the Institute on developing new technologies.


Éric Dion, Director of Business Development and Communication