The valorization of food waste via pyrolysis

Soosan Kim, Younghyun Lee, Kun Yi Andrew Lin, Eunmi Hong, Eilhann E. Kwon, Jechan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Food waste is one of the world's most serious environmental issues, with waste and losses generated at every stage of the food supply chain. There are various waste management methods for the disposal of food waste, but these have several problems such as high costs, the generation of toxic by-products, and environmental pollution. Pyrolysis has recently attracted increased interest as a potentially sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for the valorization of food waste via the development of novel products. This review focuses on state-of-the-art non-catalytic and catalytic pyrolysis processes for a wide range of food waste types that can generate high-quality liquid, solid, and gas phase products. The aim of this study is to review the effect of the reaction parameters and catalyst selection on pyrolysis performance and the distribution of pyrolytic products. This is because the production of desired compounds such as bio-oil, syngas, and biochar primarily depends on these factors. Here, we highlight the results for several methods of food waste pyrolysis that utilize different materials, catalysts, and microwave irradiation settings. This review also discusses the drawbacks of current pyrolysis technology and suggests further research that needs to be conducted on the transformation of food waste into value-added products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120816
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2020


  • Bio-oil
  • Biochar
  • Catalytic pyrolysis
  • Food waste
  • Pyrolysis
  • Syngas


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