Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Torrefaction of Healthy and Beetle Kill Pine and Co-Combustion With Sub-Bituminous Coal

[+] Author and Article Information
Alexandra Howell, Emily Beagle

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wyoming,
1000 E University Avenue,
Laramie, WY 82071

Erica Belmont

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wyoming,
1000 E University Avenue,
Laramie, WY 82071
e-mail: ebelmont@uwyo.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 30, 2017; final manuscript received November 2, 2017; published online November 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Gongnan Xie.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(4), 042002 (Nov 28, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: JERT-17-1317; doi: 10.1115/1.4038406 History: Received June 30, 2017; Revised November 02, 2017

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 U.S., 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 (HP) and beetle kill pine (BK) with coal were conducted to assess the interchangeability of these feedstocks in raw and torrefied forms. HP and BK 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 (TGA). Modulated TGA 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 BK as compared to HP, which are attributed to the degraded state of the wood. Combustion and co-combustion show favorable interchangeability of the HP and BK, and additive behavior when co-combusted with coal.

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Fig. 1

Scanning electron microscopy images of (a) HP and (b) BK pine

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Fig. 2

Mass loss of HP and BK due to torrefaction at 200, 250, and 300 °C are shown

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Fig. 3

Mass loss and derivative mass loss of raw HP and raw BK during pyrolysis

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Fig. 4

Average particle size for each sample before and after milling are shown

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Fig. 5

Mass loss profiles of coal, raw BK and HP, and 300 °C torrefied HP and BK during combustion are shown

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Fig. 6

Mass loss profiles of raw and 200, 250 and 300 °C torrefied BK during combustion are shown

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Fig. 7

Derivative mass loss profiles for combustion of coal, raw HP and BK, and 300 °C HP and BK are shown

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Fig. 8

Experimental (Expt) and calculated (Model) derivative mass loss during combustion of raw BK and raw HP blended with coal (BK_raw/C and HP_raw/C, respectively)

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Fig. 9

Experimental (Expt) and calculated (Model) derivative mass loss during combustion of 300 °C torrefied BK and 300 °C torrefied HP blended with coal (BK_300/C and HP_300/C, respectively)




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