Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

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
e-mail: osa4975@louisiana.edu

Lulin Jiang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Energy Institute of Louisiana,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
Lafayette, LA 70504
e-mail: lljiang@louisiana.edu

Prashanth R. Buchireddy

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Energy Institute of Louisiana,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
Lafayette, LA 70504
e-mail: pxb5173@louisiana.edu

Stanislav O. Barskov

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Energy Institute of Louisiana,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
Lafayette, LA 70504
e-mail: stan_barskov@yahoo.com

John L. Guillory

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Energy Institute of Louisiana,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
Lafayette, LA 70504
e-mail: jlg7703@louisiana.edu

Williams Holmes

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Energy Institute of Louisiana,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
Lafayette, LA 70504
e-mail: williams.holmes@louisiana.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received November 17, 2017; final manuscript received May 3, 2018; published online June 12, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Yaning Zhang.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(11), 112003 (Jun 12, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-17-1652; doi: 10.1115/1.4040202 History: Received November 17, 2017; Revised May 03, 2018

Biomass torrefaction is a mild pyrolysis thermal treatment process carried out at temperatures between 200 and 300 °C under inert conditions to improve fuel properties of parent biomass. Torrefaction yields a higher energy per unit mass product but releases noncondensable and condensable gases, signifying energy and mass losses. The condensable gases (volatiles) can result in tar formation on condensing, hence, system blockage. Fortunately, the 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 effects 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 more energy recovered. Energy conservation evaluation on the torrefaction reactor indicated that about 27% 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 around 19% of the total energy was recovered at the intermediate and highest torrefaction temperatures, respectively. The energy recovered represents about 23–45% of the energy associated with NG combustion in the internal burner of the torrefaction reactor, signifying that the volatiles energy can supplement significant amount of the energy required for torrefaction.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the rotary drum reactor

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Fig. 3

Schematics of experimental setup of external burner

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Fig. 2

(a) Schematic of the pilot burner configuration and (b) a typical pilot burner

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Fig. 11

(a) Heat release rate of volatiles, (b) percent energy of volatiles in total HRR, and (c) percent energy recovered from volatile, for all torrefaction temperatures

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Fig. 8

Measured temperature profiles of (a) combustor outside wall surface and (b) product gas at different air flow rates for torrefaction temperature at 283–292 °C

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Fig. 7

Flame images of the co-fire of NG and volatiles for (a) 100 LPM, (b) 115 LPM, and (c) 130 LPM of air flow rate at 283–292 °C

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Fig. 6

Minimum NG flow rate for all test cases

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Fig. 5

NOx emissions from the co-fire of NG and volatile for torrefaction temperatures at (a) 255–270 °C, (b) 283–292 °C, and (c) 310–320 °C

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Fig. 4

CO emissions from the co-fire of NG and volatile for torrefaction pretreatment temperatures at (a) 255–270 °C, (b) 283–292 °C, and (c) 310–320 °C

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Fig. 9

(a) Heat release rate of combustion of volatiles and NG, (b) percent energy of volatiles in total HRR, and (c) percent energy recovered from torrefaction off-gases, for torrefaction temperature at 283–292 °C

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Fig. 10

Measured temperature profiles of (a) combustor outside wall surface and (b) product gas at different torrefaction temperatures for air flow rate at 100 LPM



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