Fuel Processing Technology, Vol.134, 387-398, 2015
Effects of temperature and residence time on continuous torrefaction of spruce wood
As a solid energy carrier, biomass generally has a few disadvantages, which limits its use for coal replacement and as a feedstock for entrained flow gasification. The hydrophilic and fibrous nature, the low calorific value and low bulk energy content imply high accumulated costs in the whole supply chain and severe challenges in more advanced conversion systems. By thermally pretreating the biomass by torrefaction, these properties may be significantly improved. A continuous torrefaction rotary drum reactor was designed, constructed and evaluated to enable an accurate process control and allow a homogeneous well-defined high quality product to be produced. The combined effects of torrefaction temperature (260-310 degrees C) and residence time (8-25 min) on a large number of product properties (>25) were determined for Norway spruce. The resulting mass and energy yields were 46-97% and 62-99%, respectively. Exothermic reactions were evident both at low (260 degrees C) and high temperatures (310 degrees C) but with no thermal runaway observed. Increased torrefaction severity resulted in decreased milling energy consumption, angle of repose, mass and energy yield, content of volatile matter, hydrogen, cellulose and hemicellulose. Hydrophobicity, heating value, carbon and fixed carbon contents increased. For all responses, the effect of torrefaction temperature was larger than the effect of residence time. Substantial interaction effects were present for mass and energy yields, volatile matter and hydrogen content. Another correlation found was the relationship of hemicellulose degradation and the brittleness of the torrefied product. Data also suggest secondary char forming reactions during the torrefaction process, resulting in higher fixed carbon content in the torrefied material than expected. The results also suggest torrefaction temperature and residence time not to be totally interchangeable. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.