AbstractBiomass pyrolysis or gasification can convert low-energy density biomass into a high-energy density gaseous fuel. In this paper, pyrolysis of pine sawdust with and without the addition of a catalyst was investigated using a thermogravimetric analyzer coupled with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (TGA-FTIR). The effects of modified SBA-15 catalysts on the formation characteristics of CO, CO2, and CH4 were studied. The two prepared catalysts, La/SBA-15 and Fe/La/SBA-15, retained the hexagonal order of the SBA-15 material and showed high thermal stability in the temperature range of the TGA-FTIR experiments. The results showed that the pyrolysis behavior of biomass is remarkably improved in the presence of La/SBA-15 and Fe/La/SBA-15 catalysts. The modified SBA-15 materials favored thermal cracking of macromolecular substances, resulting in an apparent decrease in the tar and coke fraction, an increase in the yield of light gases, and much higher gas production. Meanwhile, a significant increase in CH4 led to a much higher energy density gaseous product.