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research-article

Investigation of Effect of Biomass Torrefaction Temperature on Volatile Energy Recovery through Combustion

[+] Author and Article Information
Oladapo S. Akinyemi

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette LA 70504, USA
osa4975@louisiana.edu

Lulin Jiang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Energy Institute of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
lljiang@louisiana.edu

Prashanth R. Buchireddy

Department of Chemical Engineering, Energy Institute of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
pxb5173@louisiana.edu

Stanislav O. Barskov

Department of Chemical Engineering, Energy Institute of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
stan_barskov@yahoo.com

John L. Guillory

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Energy Institute of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
jlg7703@louisiana.edu

William Holmes

Department of Chemical Engineering, Energy Institute of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
williams.holmes@louisiana.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040202 History: Received November 17, 2017; Revised May 03, 2018

Abstract

Biomass torrefaction is a mild pyrolysis thermal treatment process carried out at temperature between 200 to 320 °C under inert conditions to improve fuel properties of parent biomass. Torrefaction yields a higher energy per unit mass product but releases non-condensable and condensable gases, signifying energy and mass losses. The condensable gases (volatiles) can result in tar formation on condensing hence, system blockage. Fortunately, hydrocarbon composition of volatiles represents a possible auxiliary energy source for feedstock drying and/or torrefaction process. The present study designed a low-pressure volatile burner for torrefaction of pine wood chips and investigated energy recovery from volatiles through clean co-combustion with natural gas (NG). The research studied the effect of torrefaction pretreatment temperatures on the amount of energy recovered for various combustion air flow rates. For all test conditions, blue flames and low emissions at the combustor exit consistently signified clean and complete premixed combustion. Torrefaction temperature at 283-292 °C had relatively low volatile energy recovery, mainly attributed to higher moisture content evolution and low molecular weight of volatiles evolved. At the lowest torrefaction pretreatment temperature, small amount of volatiles was generated with most energy recovered. Energy conservation evaluation on the torrefaction reactor indicated that about 40 percent of total energy carried by the exiting volatiles and gases has been recovered by the co-fire of NG and volatiles at the lowest temperature while 20 and 22 percent of the total energy were recovered at the intermediate and highest torrefaction temperature respectively.

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