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research-article

Torrefaction and co-combustion of healthy and beetle kill pine with coal

[+] Author and Article Information
Alexandra Howell

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
ahowell8@uwyo.edu

Emily Beagle

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
ebeagle1@uwyo.edu

Erica Belmont

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
ebelmont@uwyo.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038406 History: Received June 30, 2017; Revised November 02, 2017

Abstract

Combustion of biomass and co-combustion with fossil fuels are viable means of reducing emissions in electricity generation, and local biomass resources are appealing to minimize life cycle emissions. In the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States, a bark beetle epidemic is causing widespread forest death and associated safety hazards. This biomass has potential to be a feedstock resource, thereby achieving dual goals of improving forest health while supplying biomass for uses such as co-firing with coal in power plants. In this study, combustion and co-combustion of healthy pine and beetle kill pine with coal were conducted to assess the interchangeability of these feedstocks in raw and torrefied forms. Healthy and beetle kill pine were torrefied at 200, 250 and 300 °C to increase energy density and improve grindability, both of which aid in seamless integration into power plants. Grindability was assessed for both feedstocks at each torrefaction condition. The raw feedstocks were pyrolyzed to assess their relative compositions. Raw and torrefied feedstocks were then combusted alone and co-combusted with sub-bituminous Powder River Basin coal using thermogravimetric analysis. Modulated thermogravimetric analysis was used to derive kinetic parameters of coal, raw and torrefied biomass, and coal-biomass blends. Results show increased grindability and pyrolysis mass loss of beetle kill as compared to healthy pine, which are attributed to the degraded state of the wood. Combustion and co-combustion show favorable interchangeability of the healthy and beetle kill pine, and additive behavior when co-combusted with coal.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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