Combustion and Flame, Vol.194, 72-84, 2018
On the particle sizing of torrefied biomass for co-firing with pulverized coal
In biomass harvesting and fuel preparation processes, grinding causes a prominent energy consumption penalty, which results in an analogous cost impact. This is due to the fibrous and tenacious nature of biomass. Torrefaction of biomass makes it brittle, as it diminishes its fibrous nature and, hence, it enhances its grindability. Nevertheless, grinding costs are still important and increase with decreasing targeted particle size. Therefore, this study introduces a methodology for assessing the torrefied biomass grind size that is suitable for firing or co-firing with coal in existing pulverized fuel boilers. It examines combustion of biomass of different origins, herbaceous, woody, or crop-related. Biomass was torrefied for 30 min at 275 degrees C in nitrogen. It was subsequently ground and sieved to various size cuts, which reflect the mean widths rather than the lengths of these typically elongated particles. Subsequently, the particles were burned, one at a time, in a drop tube furnace (DTF) under high temperature and high heating rate conditions. Luminous burnout times were observed pyrometrically and cinematographically for a number of single particles from various size cuts. Such burnout times were then contrasted with those of individual coal particles in the size range of 75-90 mu m, i.e., at the upper end of particle sizes burned in coal-fired boilers. Based on this comparison, the nominal sieve size of the examined torrefied biomass particles whose overall observed burnout times matched those of the 75-90 mu m coal particles was determined to be 212-300 mu m. Hence, to minimize the grinding cost of co-firing such torrefied biomass with coal in existing boilers, its finer pulverization may not be necessary. (C) 2018 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.