Despite the huge amounts of grape marc generated in Tunisia from the wine industry, very few efforts have been exerted to manage this harmful waste. Therefore, thermal processes may contribute to an environmental friendly management and also help winemakers to create new economic profitable circuits in an increasingly competitive context. Among the various thermochemical conversion process, pyrolysis is suitable for the recovery of food processing residues, due to their high minerals content and ability to create high added values of the derived products (biochar, bio-oil and syngas). In this context, the aim of this work is to optimize the pyrolysis process in order to benefit from the grape marc potential for achieving highest product yields. Therefore, physico-chemical and energy characteristics of grape marc issued from a Tunisian wine cooperative were determined according to international standards. Thermogravimetric analyzes were also performed to predict the grape marc behavior during degradation under an inert atmosphere. The profile of the mass loss rate shows two decomposition peaks corresponding to the cellulose and lignin decomposition. These peaks are shifted to lower temperatures comparing to several lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks due to high content of minerals that may play a catalytic role in the thermal degradation process. The biochar yield was about 40%, which was never met in literature for agricultural biomass in slow pyrolysis. Such behavior may be attributed to high lignin content in grape marc. Activation energies were calculated using integral Flynn-Wall-Ozawa and Kissinger-Akahira-Sunose methods and differential Friedman method. The obtained values were 226.8, 224.2 and 229.5 kJ/mol, respectively. Such kinetics data are crucial in the design of the pyrolyzer for Tunisian grape marc recovery.
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