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Biomass pyrolysis and biochar characterization

Ronsse, F., Dickinson, D., Nachenius, R. & Prins, W.
Department Of Biosystems Engineering,
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University (Belgium)

1st FOREBIOM Workshop
4/4/13 - Vienna

Introduction
• Outline

Forebiom Workshop 2013

of the presentation

Thermochemical biomass conversion
Pyrolysis basics
Fast pyrolysis: production &
application
Slow pyrolysis: production
techniques
Slow pyrolysis: influence of pyrolysis
conditions and feedstock type

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but in practice heat and mass transfer limitations occur affecting product distribution 3 .Pyrolysis: basics Forebiom Workshop 2013 • The decomposition of biomass by heating in an oxygen-free or oxygen-limited environment • Results in the production of three phases: gas. condensable vapours (leading up to bio- oil) and char ( biochar) • Fast reactions.

0 100 0.0 20 0.5 40 1. hemicellulose and lignin (+ extractives/ash) • Diffent biomass constituents have different pyrolysis behaviour • i.Pyrolysis: basics Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Biomass is composed out of cellulose.5 0 Mass loss rate (% per Snelheid gewichtsverlies °C) (w%/°C) 3.5 Mass(w%) (%) Gewicht 80 2.0 0 200 400 600 800 Temperature(°C) (°C) Temperatuur 4 . TGA 2.0 60 Lignine 1.e.

Pyrolysis: basics Forebiom Workshop 2013 • How is char formed during pyrolysis (chemically) • Distinction ? between primary and secondary char • Generalized scheme • Above scheme is not applicable to hydrothermal processes. 5 .

Brown .ISU • Dry feedstock (< 12 wt% moisture) • Biomass heating up to 500°C in 1 . 5 s) • Pyrolysis reactor configurations • ‘Bubbling’ fluidised • Circulating beds fluidised beds (CFB) • Rotating cone • Auger reactor • Others: ablative reactor. vacuum pyrolysis reactor 6 .C.2 s • Small biomass particles (1 a 2 mm) • Vapour residence time of 1 s (max.Fast pyrolysis Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Reaction conditions R.

g. Ensyn / Envergent process 7 .Fast pyrolysis Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Bubbling fluidised bed • Circulating fluidised bed Char Cyclone Cyclone Condensor Gas Condensor Bubbling fluidised bed (sand) Gas Sand+ char Bio-oil Riser Gas combustor Biomass Char combuster Sand Biomass Fluidisation gas e.g. Dynamotive process Bio-oil Air Fluidisation gas e.

Fast pyrolysis Forebiom Workshop 2013 Cyclone • Rotating cone reactor Condensor Gas Bio-oil Char combuster Rotating cone Hot sand Biomass Air e. BTG process • Auger or screw reactor • Single or twin screw configurations 8 .g.

Fast pyrolysis Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Bio-oil properties • Combustible. HHV • Rich ~ 18 MJ/kg in oxygenated compounds • 10 to 15 wt% water • Highly corrosive. pH ~ 2 • Not distillable • Unstable (ageing = polymerisation of bio-oil compounds) • Immiscible with hydrocarbons • Low cetane number (10 ~ 25) 9 .

Fast pyrolysis Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Bio-oil applications 10 .

Fast pyrolysis Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Bio-oil production through fast pyrolysis can be the heart of the thermochemical conversion based biorefinery • Covalorisation of the resulting char creates economic opportunities for low-cost char production 11 .

pits & mounds. Brown .C. kilns (steel.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Traditional application in charcoal production: intention is to produce a smokeless fuel (annual production of 45 Mton) • Could be applied for biochar production • i. retorts… Source: R. brick).e.ISU 12 .

9 2.4 – 3.2 – 2.4 Retort. mound Remark: NMHC = non-methane hydrocarbons TSP = total suspended solids 13 .6 1-9 27 .9 0.9 – 31.0 9.5 .0 – 8.5 – 30 Mound 2 – 42 Kiln. steel walled 18. with process control 24 – 27 6.1 .60 197 .Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation • Traditional charcoal production: Forebiom Workshop 2013 However… Type Char yield (%) Pit 12.6 – 8. kilns with process control 33 Char yield. brick walled 12.598 Kilns.89 Continuous retorts 8.30 Batch pit.33 Kiln. η= mchar 100% mbio CO (g/kg) CH4 (g/kg) NMHC (g/kg) TSP (g/kg) 160 – 179 44 – 57 7 .

• Traditional charcoal production techniques are polluting. but also agricultural and biorefinery residues 14 . and energetically not efficient • State-of-the-art production of biochar should adress: • Continuous production: improved energy efficiency and emission control • No use of • Recovery oxygen: higher biochar yields and valorisation of coproducts: improved economics • Control of pyrolysis process as a function of the desired physicochemical properties of the pyrolysis products (i.e. char/oil) • Feedstock flexibility: not only wood.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation • State-of-the-art production Forebiom Workshop 2013 biochar.

Hydrothermal systems 15 .Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation • State-of-the-art production Forebiom Workshop 2013 of biochar. Gasifiers (fixed or fluid bed) • 6. Rotating drum reactors (slow pyrolysis) • 2. Fluid bed reactors (fast pyrolysis) • 5. Auger reactors (slow or fast pyrolysis) • 3. ‘Flash carbonizer’ (trage pyrolysis) • 4. possibilities: • 1.

• Feedstock types studied: wood. “green waste”. 2013) to link. temperature (defined as HTT) • Biochar characteristics 16 . straw.. Forebiom Workshop 2013 a wide range of feedstocks available • Effect on the resulting biochar ? • Research aim: (Ronsse et al. algae • Process parameters: residence time.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation • A wide matrix of processing technologies.

• Effect of feedstock. tr = 60 min. dry basis) Wood 80 Straw Green waste 60 Algae 40 20 0 250 350 450 550 650 750 250 350 HTT (°C) 450 550 650 750 HTT (°C) tr = 10 min.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Biochar yield 100 100 80 Wood Straw Green waste 60 Algae 40 20 0 Biochar yield (w%. HTT and tr • Generally low yields: large sweep gas flow rate (800 ml/min) low vapor residence time 17 . dry basis) Biochar yield (w%.

6 w% versus 5.8. 7. straw and green waste. •Green waste: high initial humidity (31. respectively) 18 . 8.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Biochar yield 100 100 80 Wood Straw Green waste 60 Algae 40 20 0 Biochar yield (w%. 650 750 250 350 450 550 650 750 HTT (°C) tr = 60 min.3 w% for wood. dry basis) Wood 80 Straw Green waste 60 Algae 40 20 0 250 350 450 550 HTT (°C) tr = 10 min.2. straw and algae.0 and 5. dry basis) Biochar yield (w%.4 w% versus 0.9 and 3.5 w% for wood. respectively) •Algae: high ash content (38.

problem of the method to characterize biochar ? 19 . daf basis Fixed C-content Wood 60 Straw Green waste Algae 40 20 Fixed C-yield 0 250 350 450 550 650 750 HTT (°C) • Fixed C-content ~ HTT. however C-yield (w% daf) was constant tr = 10 min.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Proximate analysis 100 Wood Straw Green waste 80 Algae w%.

Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation Forebiom Workshop 2013 • pH in solution (10 w/v% in 0.1 N KCl Algae 9 7 5 3 200 400 600 800 Highest treatment temperature (°C) • More intense thermal treatment • Wood: higher pH generally lower pH than other feedstocks 20 .1 N KCl) 13 Wood Straw 11 Green waste pH in 0.

Biomass input material HTT (°C) Wood Straw Green waste Algae 450 23 16 17 14 600 127 22 46 19 -: No data recorded • Optimum temperature • BET (tr = 10 min. 7.4 w% for wood. straw. respectively) 21 . green waste and algae.) – char restructuring or ash melting ? surface area result of combined HTT and tr effect • Ash content of feedstock negatively correlated with BET surface area (0.9. 3.Slow pyrolysis and carbonisation Forebiom Workshop 2013 • BET surface area (m2/g) (a) Wood biochar Highest treatment temperature (°C) C) Residence time (min) 300 450 600 750 10 - 4 196 128 60 6 23 127 - (b) Residence time = 60 min.5 and 38.2.

Results Forebiom Workshop 2013 • Biological degradation: soil incubation • Initial depression test of carbon mineralisation (negative priming effect) ? 22 .

stability) 23 . no clear understanding how physicochemical properties relate to ‘functional properties’ (i. soil amendment qualities.e.Conclusions • Patterns emerging between physicochemical biochar properties and pyrolysis conditions • The effect of temperature and residence time • However.

Questions ? 24 .