Fluidized bed-fast pyrolysis of biomass is considered as having a high commercial potential for the thermal treatment of biomass. This paper mainly presents a model developed further to improvements in the understanding of the science, and capable of predicting pyrolysis yields that are in satisfactory agreement with literature data. The kinetics and endothermicity of biomass pyrolysis are reviewed from extensive TGA and differential scanning calorimetry experiments. For most biomass species, the reaction rate constant is > 0.5 s(-1), corresponding to a fast reaction, so the requirement of a short reaction time for a high conversion can be met. Lab-scale batch experiments and pilot-scale CFB experiments show that an oil yield between 60 and 70 wt% can be achieved at an operating temperature of 510 +/- 10 degrees C, in line with literature data. Pyrolysis fundamentals are the basis of the developed model, applied to predict the yields of the different products as functions of process operation variables. The predictions are in fair agreement with our own conversion experiments and literature data. Finally, all findings are used and are illustrated in the design strategy of a CFB for the pyrolysis of biomass. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.