The effects of Na as organic bound form or as inorganic salts form on the pyrolysis products characteristics of alkali lignin were investigated by using thermogravimetric analyzer coupled with Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (TG-FTIR), tube furnace and thermo-gravimetric analyzer (TGA). Results of TG-FTIR and tube furnace indicated that the two chemical forms Na reduced the releasing peak temperature of CO and phenols leading to the peak temperature of the maximum mass loss rate shifted to low temperature zone. Furthermore, organic bound Na obviously improved the elimination of alkyl substituent leading to the yields of phenol and guaiacol increased, while inorganic Na increased the elimination of phenolic hydroxyl groups promoting the formation of ethers. It was also found the two chemical forms Na had different effects on the gasification reactivity of chars. For inorganic Na, the char conversion decreased with increasing the char forming temperature, while organic bound Na was opposite. Crown Copyright (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.