The main objective of this experimental work is to study oil shale pyrolysis by direct heating of solar energy, using a simple concentrated solar system, and a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA). The tested sample was obtained from a local oil shale deposit, Ellujjun, in Jordan. The TGA test results confirmed that the involved reactions depended on final reactor temperature: the higher the temperature, the greater the weight loss in the sample. A series of experiments using a new design of fixed bed retort powered by solar energy were carried out to study the influence of various operating parameters such as environment inside the reactor and final temperature on the pyrolysis process. The magnitude of the total yield was mainly dependent on temperature and the medium inside the retort. The highest oil yield was witnessed when air was used as gas in the retort, while in subsequent experiments using kerosene the oil yield was much lower. However, this was almost nil in case of using water in the retort. This is the first research of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, utilizing a solar parabolic dish reflector to heat up the reactor and is deemed to open the way in the future for more detailed research in the field of solar oil shale retorting and/or gasification.
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