UTILIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL RESIDUE WITH A NEWLY DESIGNED BIOCHAR REACTOR A Process Engineering Project Report Presented to the Department

of Chemical Engineering Faculty of Chemical and Materials Engineering College of Engineering Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi by Benjamin, Opare Donald Godwyll, Richmond Kojo Annan Obeng, Sika Kwame Paintsil, Henry Odoom Yeboah-Asuamah, Gerald in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Course Process Engineering Project April, 2011.

ABSTRACT Agricultural residue has become a menace to the environment for a long time. This project, however, seeks to utilise these residues by converting them into useful resources. The thermo-chemical conversion of biomass (agricultural residue) under oxygen-controlled conditions to produce biochar has been seen to be one major way of managing these residues. Biochar has proved to be a good way of managing these agricultural residues since it is able to improve soil properties, increase crop yield and also play a major role in climatic and environment sustainability. Using a locally designed Pyrolysis system, five different biochar samples were produced from sawdust and shavings of wood species like Wawa, Odum, Teak, Asanfena etc., as well as from rice husk. An average yield of 1.42%, 16.2%, 28.26%, 26.09% and 44.8% biochar was obtained for Wawa stain sawdust, Odum sawdust, wood shavings, Asanfena wood shavings and rice husk respectively. From the analysis conducted on the five different samples produced, we found them to contain appreciable amounts of soil nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium, which are very essential for plant growth. The results obtained indicate that agricultural residue can be pyrolysed into biochar to serve as a nutrient source and as well as to sequester carbon.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We first want to give thanks to the Almighty God who in His loving kindness has made this project a success. We also want to appreciate Dr. Moses Y. Mensah who has been not only a great supervisor but also a wonderful father despite his busy schedules. We also want to thank the following people and group of persons who supported us in several ways to make our project a wonder: Dr. E. Yeboah, CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso Mr. E .Agbeko, Mechanical Engineering Department, KNUST Mr. Edward Calys Tagoe, CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso Ato Fanyin-Martin, Postgraduate Student of Department Of Chemical Engineering, KNUST Technicians in the PD Laboratory, Chemical Engineering Department, KNUST We finally want to express our profound gratitude to all persons who in one way or the other supported us and made this project a success.

....................................... 2........ 1......1...................... Chemical Composition................. CHAPTER TWO 2........2............1 BIOCHAR......... 1..................2 2....... 7 8 9 10 10 17 PAGE 1 6 6 2.........TABLE OF CONTENT CHAPTER ONE 1.............................................................1.........1................2....................................1 Biomass....1 Organic components ……………………………………………….......2............. 2..........................................................................................................1 Chemical Composition of Biomass..........2 RAW MATERIALS 2.....1..............................3 2...............................1.............................. 18 19 20 23 ...1.............................5 Limitations of Biochar Uses.............................4 History of Biochar........................................................................................ 2......2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings.......1.............1 General Objectives..........2 Specific Objectives.1..........1 2.........0 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.................................. Types of Biochar...................................................... 2......0 INTRODUCTION........ Importance of Biochar.............................................................................................. 2..................................1.......2.......................

......... 2...3..............1 Types of Pyrolyzers.......................1............... 2.2 Chemical Reactor....3....3............1..........1...............3...........................................1....3...........2.......................2................ 2.......................3...2 Types of thermocouples.............................3....3 Process Technology 2................................ 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ..........1.......3...2 Pyrolysis Process Types......1...3........ 2...................... 2...............3... 2...........................3......... 2........................... 2..................................................................1.3...........................................3....1 Thermocouples......... 2....................1 Pyrolysis.....3....3 Operation of thermocouples...............3...1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings.2......... 2....... 2....3.................4 Aging of Thermocouples..........1 Principles of thermocouples..............1.......3.......2..1.7 Calibrating Thermocouples……………………………………........3.............2.........1........................3............................1.......................3......6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple............3.. 2..3 Processes of Pyrolysis...................3..........5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples..........2....... 2......... 2....1..1 History of Pyrolysis.3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2..1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2.3..................................

.........2...........................84 .................................................................. 75 3.........1...........................2...................1 Biomass Collection...3 Uses of compost...........2...............................................................................................4...................................................... 61 63 68 69 70 71 2............82 3...3......4 Block diagram of process...............................................................................................3 Determination of pH....1........1 Types of compost...............1...... 2...........................................................................................3......................... 83 3..................... 2.................3.....3 Fibre Glass.............................................................................. 2.2 REACTOR OPERATIONS 3....4...........................1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3...................1 HEATING OF REACTOR............. 2.....................................2 Refractory Brick...............................................................3 CHARGING OF THE REACTOR.........................3.... 72 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY 3..........................................................................................................4 Compost..............................4 Moisture Content Determination.........3....... 2.....................4................. 77 3................2 BIOMASS WEIGHING...................................2 Drying.....78 3...............................1.......................2....... 75 3...2 Materials used for making compost..

..........................................................................4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR.........101 5....1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED..................1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED....................................101 5.......112 6......1 THE pH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL..2 4.......................90 4...111 6...........................................89 4.................................................1 CONCLUSION.................................………………… 109 CHAPTER SIX 6......................2 TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION………………………………………………................................3 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT..........108 5...................................................88 CHAPTER FOUR 4...3....0 RESULTS 4..................3 REFERENCE...93 CHAPTER FIVE 5. 86 3.................................5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR............113 .......................0 DISCUSSION...........................................................................................................................2 RECOMMENDATION................................2....................................2............3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES)………...............

..........................6..........................................................4 APPENDIX.............117 .................

.................. A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings...................... Summary of the various types of pyrolysis..7 TITLE Mechanical and physical properties of some selected wood species.............2 4...................... Yield and pH of Biochar............................................ A typical dump site near a household at Ayiom.......................................................................3 4...........................3 2.... Moisture content and pH of various raw materials..............................................1 2..................................... Waste management in Ayiom..........................................5 4....................... PAGE 27 35 48 55 66 89 90 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials....... Summary of thermocouple types................................. Seebeck’s coefficients for some materials........ Manipulated carbon cycle............................ 2010’s of Daily Graphic.......4 2............ 92 Temperature readings during pyrolysis of wawa saw dust.............................................1 4...........6 4... Properties of E and G –types fibre glass.............. PAGE 3 4 5 9 15 16 ...LIST OF TABLES TABLE 2........ Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types.......... 93 94 95 100 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1-1 1-2 1-3 2-1 2-2 2-3 TITLE A section of the 2nd October................................................................................... A comparison of soils in the Tropics and that in the Amazons…… Simple carbon cycle....5 4. Temperature readings during pyrolysis of wood shavings..................2 2....4 4.

......................................... Covered sawdust........ Bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzer... Weighing of sawdust................................................................. Flow diagram of biochar production..................................................... The structure of the three main components of lignin..................... 19 19 21 21 23 31 41 42 43 44 52 63 68 76 76 77 81 83 84 85 86 87 99 100 ....................... Biochar reactor....... Rotating plate pyrolyzer...................... Typical thermocouple circuit....................................................................................................................................................................................................... The chemical structure of softwood hemicellulose...................................................................................................................................................................................................... Pyrolysis flow chart................................................................................................................................................... Circulating fluidized bed pyrolyzer................................................................................................................................. Fibre glass................................. A diagram showing various levels of temperature measurement........................................................... The molecular structure of cellulose........................................................................... Feeding Of Reactor........................................................................ Covering of sawdust............ Softwood structure................... Discharged Biochar in a Wheel Barrow......... Heating of reactor........................ Drying of odum sawdust........................................................................................................................................................ Rotating cone pyrolyzer............................................................................. Taking of Temperature after Feeding Of Reactor.... A cross section of the reactor..................2-4 2-5 2-6 2-7 2-8 2-9 2-10 2-11 2-12 2-13 2-14 2-15 2-16 3-1 3-2 3-3 3-4 3-5 3-6 3-7 3-8 3-9 4-1 4-2 Hardwood fibre structure.........

..... Biochar from rice husk……………………………………………..5-1 5-2 5-3 5-4 5-5 Odum sawdust (A) Biochar.............................................................. Wawa stain biochar............... Odum sawdust Biochar........................................................................................................................... Biochar from wood shavings………………………………………....... 102 103 104 106 108 .

improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards. The process creates a fine-grained. has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer. it has become incumbent on researchers and some concerned literates in the country to provide strategies to combat this problem. It spent over GH¢ 20 million in 2008. 1 . Through biochar.795 metric tons of fertilizers. In an attempt to find a solution to this problem. Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. covering 72.000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon. Daily Graphic]. some concerned citizens in the country have come out with a technology known as biochar. under a fertilizer subsidy programme and has an annual import bill on fertilizer estimated at more than $50 million now. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta). widely applicable and quickly scalable. highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Agriculture is a very important sector in the Ghanaian economy. Biochar is a 2. This technology is one of the few that is relatively inexpensive. The government spends a lot of money to import fertilizer in to the country.Considering the amount spent on fertilizer importation. boost food security and discourage deforestation. Sixty percent of the population depends on agriculture as their only source of money hence they invest a lot in fertilizer to be able to have a good harvest. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource. [Kofi Yeboah (October 2nd 2010). biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs.

2 . Through biochar. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource. Biochar has unique properties that make it not only a valuable soil amendment to sustainably increase soil health and productivity. importance and the excitement of having the first biochar reactor in the country was captured in the back page of the 2nd October 2010 edition of the Daily Graphic. improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards The novelty. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution. . Biochar also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs. but also an appropriate tool for sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide in soils for the long term in an attempt to mitigate global warming.Biochar provides a unique opportunity to improve soil fertility and nutrient-use efficiency using locally available and renewable materials in a sustainable way.

3 .Fig 1-1. A section of the 2nd October. 2010’s edition of the Daily Graphic announcing the building of the first biochar reactor in the country.

The waste will then be used as compost. Fig 1-2 A typical dump site near a household at Ayiom 4 .The second part of this project is the use of house hold waste to produce compost. This is going to help improve sanitation in the community hence improving the standard of living of the people. The pictures below show the improper ways of disposing of waste in the Ayiom community. The biochar will then be added to the compost and then supplied to the community for use on their farms. The compost would then be combined with the biochar to further enrich its used as fertilizer. For the purpose of this project house hold waste from the people of Ayiom is going to be sorted and collected with the help of Zoomlion.

Fig 1-3 Waste Management in Ayiom Ayiom. 5 . the soil fertility. serves as a sampled area to realize the significance of the biochar – compost blend. being a small farming community with potential rich biomass dumps. plant growth and yield will be effectively demonstrated. This is because the household wastes of the people will be composted and blended with the biochar and then used on their farms. Thus.

6 . To improve the value of compost used in soil enrichment. To help check the emission of greenhouse gases. To help fight global warming and provide economic value in a future of carbonrestrained economy.General Objectives To serve as supplement to enrich compost through sorting of household waste. To produce fertilizer at a reduced price for farmers. Specific Objectives To provide an alternative way of managing agricultural waste. To play a major role in environmental waste management. To reduce the need for chemical fertilizer.

as biochar or bio-char (also called charcoal or biomass-derived black carbon.CHAPTER TWO 2. 2. which we do not adopt due to the wider applicability of biochar for environmental management beyond agriculture) has been used in traditional agricultural practices as well as in modern horticulture. in the context of agricultural application sometimes called agrichar or agric-char. While "discovered" may not be the right word. serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks. As a soil amendment. BIOCHAR Biochar is just charcoal made from biomass (which is plant material and agricultural waste).0 LITERATURE REVIEW Biochar. biochar was identified as a soil amendment that has the potential to revolutionize concepts of soil management. The enhanced nutrient retention capacity of biochar-amended soil not only reduces the total fertilizer requirements but also the climate and environmental impact of croplands 7 . biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative.Hence the name ‘biochar’. It is a fine-grained charcoal produced from pyrolysis: the slow burning of organic matter in a low.or no-oxygen environment.1.The new frontier inspired by the fascinating properties of Terra Preta de Indio. never before has evidence been accumulating that demonstrates so convincingly that biochar has very specific and unique properties that make it stand out among organic soil amendments.

Many theories exist. the smouldering char eventually forms terra preta. Similar to slash-and-burn techniques. Combined with other biomass and buried under a layer of dirt.2.1History of Biochar The term ‘biochar’ was coined in recent times. 8 . Analyses of the dark soils have revealed high concentrations of charcoal and organic matter. slash-and-char involves clearing vegetation within a small plot and igniting it.1. Interestingly. Terra preta’s productivity is due to good nutrient retention and a neutral pH. such as plant and animal remains (manure. but the origins of the concept are ancient. This is a highly fertile dark-coloured soil that has for centuries supported the agricultural needs of the Amazonians. Throughout the Amazon Basin there are regions—up to two metres in depth—of terra preta. A frontrunner is the suggestion that ancient techniques of slash-andchar are responsible for the dark earth. in areas where soils are generally acidic. terra preta exists only in inhabited areas. but only allowing the refuse to smoulder (rather than burn). It is from these hypotheses of early slash-and-char practices that modern scientists have developed methods for producing biochar. bones and fish). suggesting that humans are responsible for its creation. What has not been confirmed is how terra preta was created so many years ago.

1.2 Chemical Composition Biochar mostly is made up of carbon and hydrogen.Fig 2-1 A comparison of soils in the tropics and that in the amazons 2. 9 . The carbon left in the biochar may be about 40% of the total carbon in the material used. The chemical composition of the biochar may vary slightly depending on the type of material used and the temperature to which the feed material is heated changes the chemical composition of biochar.

wood or bark has been used and production parameters. The type of biochar varies with biomass type. extending to the agricultural sector and to various types of waste management.1. Higher firing temperatures will result in a greater amount of micro porosity and adsorptive capacity. thereby delaying or completely preventing the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas. As an example. biochar made from manure will have a greater nutrient content than that formed from wood chips. 10 .2. will remain more stable for a longer time.1. the biochar may retain the carbon. The benefits of biochar go beyond this.1. therefore a better potential for adsorption of toxic substances and soil rehabilitation.3 Types of Biochar Not all biochar is the same. A wood based biochar. in many cases rice. such as the rate of pyrolysis and kiln size. depending on its ultimate use.4. Hence the raw material used determines the type of biochar.1 Benefits to the agricultural sector and waste management The agricultural sector can benefit from biochar in two ways: soil improvement and animal and crop waste disposal. 2.4 Importance of Biochar Biochar has been popularized by its potential role in climate change mitigation. Biochar is rich in carbon and. on the other hand. however. 2.

Mg. P. and K Increased soil microbial respiration Increased soil microbial biomass Stimulated symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes Increased arbuscular mycorrhyzal fungi Increased cation exchange capacity 11 .The following benefits occur with additions of biochar to the soil: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Enhanced plant growth Suppressed methane emission Reduced nitrous oxide emission Reduced fertilizer requirement Reduced leaching of nutrients Stored carbon in a long term stable sink Reduced soil acidity: biochar raises soil pH Reduced aluminium toxicity Increased soil aggregation due to increased fungal hyphae Improved soil water handling characteristics Increased soil levels of available Ca.

and the less than 3 per cent that remains in ash after complete burning. the reduction of greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be generated from waste disposal. such as paper milling.4. it also removes potential pathogens that can be a problem if directly applied to soils. and the production of renewable energy. 2. and by operating at a temperature above 350˚C. Biochar presents an attractive alternative if the economic costs can be kept below those of waste management. animal and crop waste can contaminate ground and surface waters. can also be used. Some analysts have suggested that ‘up to 12% of the total anthropogenic [carbon] 12 . waste processing or recycling. such as the paper industry) is the fact that it uses organic waste.2 Climate Change Mitigation Biochar has been given a lot of attention recently as one means of addressing climate change.A second benefit of biochar production to the agricultural sector (and some industries. Left to accumulate.1. but they can become costly. Waste management practices are aimed at preventing such contamination. around 50 per cent of the feedstock’s carbon content is retained in the biochar. the biochar production process transforms waste into a resource. The pyrolysis process reduces the weight and volume of the feedstock. This compares to the 10 to 20 per cent that remains in biomass after 5 to 10 years of natural decay. Green urban waste and waste from some industrial processes. By accepting organic material as its input. It has the capacity to do so in three ways: the storage of carbon over long periods. Through the production process.

the pyrolysis process also produces viable forms of renewable energy. Moreover. can be used either to produce electricity. The syngas and bio-oils that result from the biochar production process. if slash-and-burn is replaced by slash-and-char’. or as fuel. it has the potential to reduce emissions from other activities that might need to take place in the absence of the biochar option. CO2. 2.4.3 MANIPULATING THE CARBON CYCLE Carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and stored in organic matter. Finally. and the generated heat.1. in which 13 . and water (H2O) to synthesize organic matter and release oxygen (O2). This accumulated organic matter is returned to the atmosphere by decomposition of dead plant tissue or disturbances. If it proves practicable to replace traditional slash-and-burn practices with slash-and-char methods. Both can be sources of greenhouse gas emissions. These other activities are the waste disposal process described above and any recycling process.emissions by land use change can be off-set annually in soil. At the same time. When plants grow they utilize sunlight. Not only does this represent a renewable energy alternative but it also improves the energy efficiency of the pyrolysis process. biochar may present a real quantifiable and verifiable option for storing carbon in the long term. it has been calculated that ‘the emission reductions associated with biochar additions to soil appear to be greater than the fossil fuel offset in its use as fuel’. either as carbon dioxide from transport and processing. such as fire. or methane from landfill sites.

biochar formation has important implications for the global carbon cycle. Burning biomass in the absence of oxygen produces biochar and products of incomplete combustion (PIC). The resulting biochar consists of mainly carbon and is characterized by a very high recalcitrance against decomposition. and a permanent form of carbon sequestration. and uptake by photosynthesis and release by decay is balanced. In undisturbed full-grown forest ecosystems. Larger molecules can be condensed into bio-oil and also used as a renewable fuel. These gases can be used to fuel the conversion of biomass into biochar and/or renewable energy generation (Figure 2-3).large amounts of organic matter are oxidized and rapidly transferred into CO2 (Figure 2-2). The PIC includes burnable gases such as H2 and CH4. Biochar can be produced by thermo-chemical conversion of biomass. the more resistant biochar fraction increases as a portion of the total carbon pool and may constitute up to 35 percent of the total. 14 . Reduced decomposition is an advantage of biochar. Thus. In natural and agro ecosystems. Carbon dating of charcoal has shown some to be over 1500 years old. fairly stable. Thus biochar decelerates the second part of the carbon cycle (decay. Terrestrial carbon is primarily stored in forests. As the soil carbon pool declines due to cultivation. the turnover time of carbon takes decades. mineralization) and its non-fuel use would establish a carbon sink. incomplete burning produces residual charcoal.

Figure 2-2 Simple Carbon Cycle. The figure above shows a simplified version of the carbon cycle in vegetation and soil. Plants take CO2 from the atmosphere to synthesize tissue (plant biomass). As long as biomass is growing it accumulates carbon. During decomposition of dead biomass and humus the carbon is released as CO2. In undisturbed ecosystems the accumulation and release of CO2 is in equilibrium.

15

\ Figure 2-3 Manipulated Carbon Cycle Figure2-3 illustrates the manipulated carbon cycle due to biochar carbon sequestration. Biochar is recalcitrant against decomposition and remains in the soil for centuries or millennia. Thus pyrolysis can transfer 50% of the carbon stored in plant tissue from the active to an inactive carbon pool. The remaining 50% of carbon can be used to produces energy and fuels. This enables carbon negative energy generation if re-growing resources are used. (i.e. with each unit if energy produced CO2 is removed from the atmosphere) (Christoph Steiner, University of Georgia, Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program, Athens, GA 30602, USA)

16

2.1.5 LIMITATION TO BIOCHAR USES

Despite the potential benefits that biochar presents, there are limits to its potential production and usage. A major limitation to the production of biochar is that the biomass used cannot be drawn from just any agricultural (or industrial or urban) waste. Some studies have estimated that no more than three per cent of available biomass is suitable for producing biochar. On a global scale, using all aboveground biomass would sequester only 0.56 gigatonnes of carbon per year, just one third of what is emitted each year from land use change, or less than a tenth of annual fossil fuel emissions.

If plants are grown specifically for the production of biochar (instead of using waste), then the plants must have a growth rate matched to the rate of planned biochar production. Fast growing plants deliver the best productivity, but these also mature earlier and may begin to decay sooner. The most efficient way to capture the carbon used by the plant in photosynthesis would be to harvest it before the growth rate begins to taper.

Also, the purpose for the produced biochar will change the potential benefits, so it must be clear from the beginning whether the goal is to improve soil nutrient retention, sequester carbon or manage waste. Whatever the objective, the process will be optimised for that purpose in order to maximise financial return. This is often to the detriment of other benefits. By targeting soil improvement, the resulting biochar may not produce any usable renewable energy; or if bio-energy production is the main objective, the resultant biochar may be too unstable to store any carbon long-term. Such trade-offs are not to be neglected as the ultimate profitability of the process will determine its potential net benefit.

17

green waste. agricultural wastes. Burning biomass does not release carbon into the atmosphere that adds to the amount of carbon already present in the normal carbon cycle. palm kernel) and many others. Biomass is currently the fourth largest energy source in the world – primarily used in less developed countries and could in principle become one of the main energy sources in the developed world. hazel nut. combustion of biomass to produce energy does put the carbon into the atmosphere faster than natural processes can accommodate and 18 . timber. 2. bagasse (sugar cane residue. rice husks and straw.1 Biomass In ecological studies. However. The type of material used will also depend on the availability of the biomass material. the term biomass refers to renewable sources of energy that come from living organisms as well those that have recently died. these fuels are bound in the earth's crust and are not part of the carbon cycle. food wastes. wood waste. In the world of energy production. This eliminates the fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum because. Annually. manure.g. while produced from ancient biomass. coconut husk.)peanut hull. leaves. grasses. biomass is the mass of living organisms present in a particular area or ecosystem.2. photosynthesis is said to store 5-8 times more energy in biomass than humanity currently consumes from all sources. distillers grain.2. cocoa husk. nut shell(groundnut.2 RAW MATERIALS There are wide ranges of biomasses that can serve as potential biochar feedstocks: e. paper sludge.

and softwood.reabsorb. hard. Different substances meet the definition of biomass.1. oils produced from trees or vegetables. physical and biological properties.2. These include wood. Industries are typically more selective when they define biomass to mean only that which is useful to their particular type of business. both directly harvested and waste products from other processes. Both groups have different chemical. 2. Usually there are two groups of wood distinguished. household garbage. but within these groups also large variations are possible Figure 2-4 Hardwood fibre structure Figure2-5 Soft wood structure 19 . grains. grasses. the amount of bark and the woods geographical origin. and more. The chemical composition depends on many characteristics like the wood species.1 Chemical Composition of Biomass From a chemical perspective wood can be regarded as a mixture or polymers combined with a small fraction of minerals.

The proportions of these groups depend on the type of wood. This structure is the same for both hard and softwood. Together these three groups from 90 to 95% of wood.2.1.1. Cellulose Cellulose is the main component of woody biomass. The cellulose chains can reach polymerization grades up to 10. Thermal degradation of cellulose normally starts around 350 °C. Cellulose consists of long polymers built with a C6-monomer as base structure. The next sections describe the three groups in more detail. This temperature depends on the presence of side groups and branches along the chains. cellulose.2. The other 5 to 10% consists of mineral matter and a few other organic compounds. hemicellulose and lignin. from 15 to 25% for hemicellulose and between 20 and 30% for lignin. but normally mass fractions range from 40 to 50% for cellulose.000 resulting in a high anisotropic material with a strong crystalline structure. During pyrolysis the polymer chains can be broken down into smaller polymers. 20 . but also in gas species that are much smaller than one monomer.1 Organic components The numerous different polymers present in the organic fraction of the fuel are generally divided in three main groups.

and softwood. The hemicellulose polymers form a crystalline structure and the same types of chemical bonds are present. hemicellulose is a more branched polymer. Figure 5 and figure 6 show the chemical structure of 21 . the thermal degradation of hemicellulose starts around 270 °C.Fig 2-6 The molecular structure of cellulose Hemicellulose Hemicellulose is in most aspects similar to cellulose. The base structure of hemicellulose consists of C5-monomers and the polymerization grade is in the order of 100. Figure 2-7 The chemical structure of softwood hemicellulose. The chemical structure of hemicellulose differs for hard. Compared to cellulose. Where branches in softwood consist of merely arabinose (C5H10O5). This results in a lower thermal stability. hardwood hemicellulose contains large amounts of acetyl groups (-COCH3).

but is amorphous and highly cross-linked. Lignin can be subdivided into three different groups of lignin. It has the highest energy content of the three fractions. 22 . which starts around 390 °C. According to Rao the thermal degradation of lignin. Lignin has also a relatively large carbon content compared to cellulose and hemicellulose.and C5-structure of the monomers give the chains either a hexagonal or a pentagonal shape. These structures are indicated with Lig-C. meaning that the polymer chains are highly interconnected. The Lig-C structure is representative for softwood lignin. due to the many different chemical structures present in lignin.cellulose and a hemicellulose chain respectively. Lignin does not have a well defined crystalline structure like cellulose and hemicellulose. Lig-O and Lig-H and are shown below. and is as a result the most charring biomass component. The C6. Hardwood lignin contains more metoxyl (-OCH3) groups and can be represented by a mixture of Lig-O and Lig-H. Lignin Lignin is the least homogeneous wood compound and consists of a lot of different chemical structures. takes place over a wide temperature range.

Onyina. Sapele. Cedar and some red woods.1. including serving as mulch. and as scatter. Wawa. or as a fuel. It is also sometimes used in bars in order to soak up spills. hence its name. 23 . Teak. 2. it has been treated as a by-product of manufacturing industries and can easily be understood to be more of a hazard. or as an alternative to clay cat litter.2. This material is produced from cutting with a saw. It has also been used in artistic displays.2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings Sawdust is composed of fine particles of wood. or for the manufacture of particleboard. It has a variety of practical uses. The common types of wood sawdust in Ghana include those obtained from Mahogany.Figure 2-8 The structure of the three main components of lignin. allowing the spill to be easily swept out the door. Historically. Odum. especially in terms of its flammability.

This has placed small sawyers and environmental agencies in a deadlock. Other scientists have a different view. Water-borne bacteria digest organic material in leachates.2.1. This high "biological oxygen demand" can suffocate fish and other organisms. so it is not at all advisable to 24 . They don’t take into account large drainage areas. Sawmills may be storing thousands of cubic metres of wood residues in one place. Technical advisors have reviewed some of the environmental studies. burned in a sawdust burner or used to make heat for other milling operations. so the amount of material that is getting into the water from the site in relation to the total drainage area is minuscule. but the difference is of scale. but say most lack standardized methodology or evidence of a direct impact on wildlife. Questions about the science behind the determination of sawdust being an environmental hazard remain for sawmill operators (though this is mainly with finer particles).1 Science of sawdust The main by-product of sawmills. but use up much of the available oxygen.2. who compare wood residuals to dead trees in a forest. unless reprocessed into particleboard. The decomposition of a tree in a forest is similar to the impact of sawdust.2. saying the "dilution is the solution to pollution" argument is no longer accepted in environmental science. There is an equally detrimental effect on beneficial bacteria. so the issue becomes one of concentration. creating an environmental hazard. sawdust may collect in piles and add harmful leachates into local water systems.

These substances make up the fibrous and woody cell walls of plants and trees and are held together by cementing properties. they cause toxicity and are toxic to a broad range of organisms. and thermal and electrical properties.1. as the tree decays. as was once done by hobbyists seeking to save some expense on activated charcoal.2. shrinkage. permeability. Numerous species take on different characteristics. they slowly get broken down. 2. but can leach into water and poison wildlife. These impacts on the ecology have called for the increased use of sawdust in Biochar technology.2. But of larger concern are substances such as lignin and fatty acids that protect trees from predators while they are alive. Those types of things remain in the tree and.use sawdust within home aquariums. The physical properties (other than appearance) are moisture content. Other characteristics are due to the way that the wood is sawed and cured. But when sawyers are processing a large volume of wood and large concentrations of these materials get out into the runoff. 25 . When attempting to complete a wood project you must be careful of your choice of wood. All are composed of 60% cellulose and 28% lignin. density.1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings The properties of sawdust which makes it susceptible for charring are dependent on the type of wood from which it was obtained. The individual consistencies and colours are the elements remaining of about 12%.

Permeability is influenced by the anatomy of the wood cells. Above that point. Moisture content is defined as the ratio of the mass of water contained in the wood to the mass of the same sample of dry wood. The percentage of early wood and latewood in each growth ring determines the overall density of a wood sample. The density of wood is determined by the amount of cell wall substance and the volume of voids caused by the cell cavities (lumens) of the fibres. Wood shrinks significantly more in the radial and tangential directions than in the longitudinal direction. The amount of the shrinkage depends on its direction relative to grain orientation and the amount of moisture lost below the fibre saturation point. and the properties of the fluid being measured. 26 . Moisture content for wood is expressed on either a fractional or percentage basis. by whether the wood is sapwood or heartwood.Moisture content is a major factor in the processing of wood because it influences all physical and mechanical properties. and by the chemical and physical properties of the fluid. and durability and performance during use. tangential. Density can vary widely across a growth or annual ring. Permeability is also affected by the species. Permeability is a measure of the flow characteristics of a liquid or gas through wood as a result of the total pressure gradient. the direction of flow (radial. and longitudinal). Shrinkage occurs when wood loses moisture below the fibre saturation point. wood is dimensionally stable. Normal inuse moisture content of processed wood that has been dried ranges 8–13%.

is an integral step.The primary thermal properties of wood are conductivity. pressing.58. moisture content. to less extent. Conductivity in the longitudinal direction is greater than in the transverse directions. curing.5 36 – 126 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 27 .5 – 101 36 . African Mahogany Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Value Unit Value 0 – 10000 32. specific heat. For most processing operations. and direction of conduction. or conditioning. WOOD TYPES AND THEIR PROPERTIES Table 2. the dominant heating direction is transverse. Thermal conductivity in the transverse directions (radial and tangential) is approximately equal. Thermal conductivity is important to wood processing because heating— whether for drying. on temperature.1 Mechanical and Physical Properties of Some Selected Wood Species A. Specific heat of wood is dependent on moisture content and. The conductivity of wood is determined by density. and coefficient of thermal expansion.

0.3 e-6/K W/m.14 .6 – 40 0.6 .Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.38 0 – 630 0.6 Unit W/m.K kg/m3 % B. Teak Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage Value 0.0.19 .31 0 – 490 1 – 1.0.K kg/m3 % Value 10500 – 15600 95 – 155 48 – 91 86 – 170 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 28 .

5 30 – 110 Units MPa MPa MPa MPa 29 .50. Wawa Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quality Density Value 0 – 350 Unit kg/m3 Value 4900 – 8700 11 – 80 24 .C.

1995). inorganic material in char is termed ash. Organic liquid product is generally hydrophilic containing many oxygenated compounds and is present. charcoal or coke. biochar. sometimes as a single aqueous phase. some present in a remaining volatile portion. 2002). The gas product is termed synthesis gas.2. The solid. charcoal will be used for more traditional processes with wood as feedstock.3. 2002). sometimes phase-separated.3 PROCESS TECHNOLGY 2. It is generally composed of carbon dioxide. The term char is used generally to describe the solid product of pyrolysis. methane. is generally of high carbon content and may contain around half the total carbon of the original organic matter. shortened to syngas. typically ranging 60-90% (Gaur and Reed. carbon monoxide. Some is ‘fixed-carbon’ in terms of its proximate analysis. Liquid products from biomass pyrolysis are frequently termed bio-oil. Char contains varying carbon content.1 Pyrolysis Pyrolysis is a thermo chemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (Demirbas and Arin. The volatiles can be partly condensed to give a liquid fraction leaving a mixture of so-called ‘non-condensable’ gases. and biochar will be used where the intention is for the char to be used as a soil amendment. hydrogen and twocarbon hydrocarbons in varying proportions. termed variously as char. 30 . together with water produced in the pyrolysis reaction or remaining from the feedstock (Demirbas and Arin.

proces been used to extract liquid and gas products from coal since Victorian times and the 31 . was a source of many valuable organic trochemicals. Mankind has used pyrolysis and related processes for thousands of years. compounds for industrial and medicinal uses. such as flavorings. some high value liquid products. or ‘wood distillation’. Pyrolysis and gasification processes have .000 years ago. are still produced by wood pyrolysis. In the Bronze Age intentionally produced charcoal was used for smelting metals and charcoal is still heavily used in metallurgy today.Fig 2-9 Pyrolysis Flow chart 2.1 History of pyrolysis. For thousands of years charcoal has been a preferred cooking fuel.1. The earliest known example is the production of charcoal (a fuel for cooking and cave drawings by Croa Magnon man) some 38.3. Prior to the development of petrochemicals. pyrolysis.

1.3. The fertile terra preta (dark earth) soils of the Amazonian region result from incorporation of char into otherwise poor soils. Char has also been used in agriculture for thousands of years. Fast Pyrolysis Fast pyrolysis is characterized by high heating rates and short vapor residence times. In addition to the two. A moderate (in pyrolysis terms) temperature of around 500°C is usually used. there may be other technologies. There are a number of different reactors configurations that can achieve this including ablative systems. The resulting soils have long-lasting fertility that has been related to the stability of carbon in the soil (Lehmann et al. This generally requires a feedstock prepared as small particle sizes and a design that removes the vapors quickly from the presence of the hot solids. the technologies are still relatively undeveloped.technology for producing a synthetic crude oil from coal is well established. It is only more recently that biomass and organic wastes have become a focus as feeds for pyrolysis and related thermal treatment processes for energy recovery or bio-fuel production.2 Pyrolysis Process Types There are two main classes of process for biomass pyrolysis. Development of fast pyrolysis progressed rapidly following 32 . They are fast pyrolysis and slow pyrolysis. or biochar. 2. It is this observation coupled with the search for carbon sequestration techniques for climate change mitigation that has led to recent interest in pyrolysis-derived char. 2009). fluidized beds. stirred or moving beds and vacuum pyrolysis systems. Introduced briefly below are the two main types and a number of other related technologies.

In several cases these have been adapted for biomass pyrolysis from original uses such as the coking of coal with production of towns gases or the extraction of hydrocarbons from oil. but this will always be accompanied by liquid and gas products although these are not always recovered. relatively long solid and vapour residence times and usually a lower temperature than fast pyrolysis. typically 400°C. rotary kilns and screw pyrolyzer. in particular acetic acid and methanol. Although some of 33 . Liquid and gas products are often not collected but escape as smoke with consequent environmental issues. either internally or externally. these include agitated drum kilns. The target product is often the char. These allow recovery of organic liquid products and recirculation of gases to provide process heat. usually wood. These are generally based on a horizontal tubular kiln where the biomass is moved at a controlled rate through the kiln.the oil crises of the 1970’s as a way of producing liquid fuel from an indigenous renewable resource. Prior to the widespread availability of petrochemicals. mounds or kilns. and the process is designed to give a high yield of bio-oil. using pits. It is characterized by slower heating rates. Traditional processes. such processes were used to generate important organic liquid products. Other developments in the later 20th century led to slow pyrolysis technologies of most interest for biochar production. Slow Pyrolysis Slow pyrolysis can be divided into traditional charcoal making and more modern processes. Developments through the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to industrial scale processes using large retorts operated in batch or continuous modes. generally involve some direct combustion of the biomass. as heat source in the kiln. primarily wood.

usually in the context of laboratory studies involving rapid movement of substrate through a heated tube under gravity or in a gas flow. When used for biomass it has performance similar to slow pyrolysis techniques. Very fast pyrolysis is sometimes referred to as ‘flash pyrolysis’. This reactor was designed for waste disposal of electrical and electronic component residues by pyrolysis. 2009). It involves partial combustion of biomass in a gas flow containing a controlled level of oxygen at relatively high temperatures (500-800°C) yielding a main product of 34 . the main product distributions are similar to fast pyrolysis. Flash carbonization is a different process involving partial combustion of a packed bed of biomass in a pressurized reactor with a controlled air supply. Higher temperatures and shorter residence times than fast pyrolysis are used. The term ‘intermediate pyrolysis’ has been used to describe biomass pyrolysis in a certain type of commercial screw-pyrolyzer – the Haloclean reactor. Other Technologies This section covers a brief review of technologies other than slow and fast pyrolysis that maybe used for thermal treatment of biomass and char production. The technology is currently being commercialized by Carbon Diversion Incorporated (CDI.these technologies have well-established commercial applications. A high yield of char and gas are reported with no liquid product formed under the reaction conditions. although somewhat quicker. there is as yet little commercial use with biomass in biochar production. Gasification is an alternative thermo-chemical conversion technology suitable for treatment of biomass or other organic matter including municipal solid wastes or hydrocarbons such as coal.

The process may be suitable for concentration of carbon from wet waste streams that would otherwise require drying before pyrolysis. Table 2.2 Summary of The Various Types Of Pyrolysis. under some conditions gasifiers can produce reasonable yields of char and have been proposed as an alternative production route to pyrolysis for biochar. Under acidic conditions with catalysis by iron salts the reaction temperature may be as low as 200°. Hydrothermal carbonization is a completely different process involving the conversion of carbohydrate components of biomass (from cellulose) into carbon-rich solids in water at elevated temperature and pressure.combustible syngas with some char. Liquid Process (bio-oil) Slow pyrolysis • Solid (biochar) Gas (syngas) Long residence times 30% 35% 35% (70% water) • Low-moderate reactor temperature 35 . making it complementary to pyrolysis and a potential alternative to anaerobic digestion for treatment of some wastes. Although designed to produce gas.

Intermediate pyrolysis • Low-moderate reactor temperature 50% 25% (50% water) 25% • Moderate hot vapour residence time Fast pyrolysis • Moderate temperature (~500°C) reactor 75% 12% (25% water) vapour 13% • Short hot residence time (<2 s) Gasification High reactor temperature 5% (>800°C) (contains • tar 5% 5% (not biochar) used as 90% Long residence time vapour water) 36 .

All biomass resources are composed primarily of cellulose (typically 30 to 40 percent of dry weight). Hemicellulose is the most reactive component of biomass and decomposes between 200 and 260oC. At temperatures above 600°C. hemicelluloses (25 to 30 percent of dry weight). CO2.e. Cellulose is converted to char and gases (CO. tar yields drop. H2O) at low temperatures (< 300oC). They also produce more methanol and acetic acid than cellulose.3. The decomposition of hemicellulose is postulated to occur in two steps—the breakdown of the polymer into water soluble fragments followed by conversion to monomeric units and decomposition into volatile compounds. Hemicelluloses produce more gases and less tar than cellulose.1. high molecular weight phenolic compound which serves as cement between plant cells and is the least reactive component of biomass. The yield of light hydrocarbons (i. and the pyrolysis of cellulose is complete. and lignin (12 to 30 percent of dry weight). Decomposition of lignin occurs between 280°C and 37 .. C1 . and no levoglucosan. predominantly levoglucosan) at high temperatures (> 300oC). gas yields increase.C4) is negligible below 500°C but increases substantially at high temperatures. This heterogeneity creates variability in the yields of pyrolysis products.3 Processes of Pyrolysis The pyrolysis of biomass. The time required to pyrolyze biomass resources is controlled by the rate of pyrolysis of lignin under operating conditions. and to volatile compounds (tar and organic liquids. but the percent of each compound differs significantly among biomass resources. amorphous. Lignin is a highly linked.2.

At slow heating rates. the decomposition of the major components occurs separately and sequentially with the hemicellulose decomposing first and the lignin last.g.. depolymerization. lignin loses only about half of its weight at temperatures below 800°C. carbonization is complete. and acetic acid) occurs. formic acid. Up to 200°C. Hydrocarbon gas yields (e.500°C.. char production decreases (to a steady level above 650°C) and the carbon content of the char increases. Between 280 and 500°C. methanol. volatile products such as acetic acid and formic acid are released. Separation of tar occurs. CH4. Pyrolysis of lignin yields more char and tar than cellulose. Char formation decreases and the carbon content of the char increases. Above 500°C.g. Between 200 and 280°C. Condensable tar is released. loss of some methanol) may occur at lower temperatures. C3H6) increase up to about 660°C and then decline. As temperatures increase. The time required to obtain a given conversion level decreases with increasing temperature. water and non-condensable gases. further decomposition of the char and wood occur resulting in the release of pyroligneous acids. 38 . Secondary reactions begin if the materials are not removed from the reaction zone as quickly as they form. For wood. formaldehyde. H2. although some physical and/or chemical changes (e. moisture is removed. release of combustible volatile products (CO. probably due to thermal cracking. and non-condensable gases such as CO and CO2 are produced. C2H6.

while large tanks can be used to make chemicals on an industrial scale. when the need for a chemical is high and very consistent. and they can vary in size considerably.3. Small bench top chemical reactor designs are intended for use in labs. for example. depending on the needs. Reactions take place inside the reactor. This type of reactor works best when people need chemicals on a small scale. Continuous chemical reactors operate continuously. the components of the reaction are added to the reactor and a controlled reaction is allowed to take place. as for example when research chemists are preparing compounds for pharmaceutical research. as long as the materials needed for the reaction are supplied. These are used to create a steady supply of a needed chemical. in conditions which can be monitored and controlled for safety and efficiency. the batch can be removed and the reactor can be prepared for another round. These reactors are periodically shut 39 . These types of reactors are used in the production of chemicals such as components of pharmaceutical compounds. When the reaction is finished. A number of scientific specialty companies produce chemical reactors and accessories such as replacement components for damaged devices. Continuous reactors are commonly used in the manufacture of industrial chemicals.2. The design also includes a variety of features which can be used to control conditions inside the reactor. Chemical reactors can be designed as either tanks or pipes.2 CHEMICAL REACTOR A chemical reactor is a device which is used to contain controlled chemical reactions. and they can operate in several different ways. With a batch chemical reactor.

1. good temperature control and a large heat storage capacity. vapours and aerosols which exit the reactor by the conveying fluidizing gas stream. to ensure that it conforms with safety guidelines and to confirm that the space has been properly designed to accommodate the chemical reactor 2. For special applications. where it is decomposed into solid char. the charcoal can be removed by a cyclone separator and stored. In a fluidized bed pyrolyzer. good heat transfer.2. Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzers have been popular because they are simpler to design and construct compared with other reactor designs. gas. a heated sand medium in a zero-oxygen environment quickly heats the feedstock (biomass) to 850º F. in which case special steps may need to be taken when they are restarted so that their functionality will not be impaired.1 Types of pyrolyzers There are a number of different pyrolysis reactors (physical containers where the reaction is performed). The 40 .down for maintenance or when they are not needed. an engineer may design a custom reactor which is specifically built for the purpose. After exiting the reactor zone.3. in which case the engineer is also involved in the design of the space where the reactor will be used. They also have good gas-to-solids contact. These devices are designed by chemical engineers who are familiar with the needs of chemical reactors and the various ways in which they can be used.

vapours and aerosols enter a direct quenching system where they are rapidly cooled (< 125º F) directly with a liquid immiscible (two liquids that don’t mix) in bio-oil or indirectly using chillers (heat exchanger). The syngas (a medium Btu gas) may be burned to provide necessary heat to the reactor. Fig 2-10 Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzer 41 . The condensed bio-oil is collected and stored.scrubbed gases. aerosol droplets may be further scrubbed in an electrostatic precipitator to remove finer particulates and aerosols. The particle heating rate is the major factor limiting the rate of the pyrolysis reaction. High liquid yields (about 60 percent weight of biomass on a dry basis) can be typically recovered. and the non-condensable gas (syngas) may be recycled or used as a fuel to heat the reactor. Prior to recycling the syngas and residual bio-oil. Small feedstock particle sizes are needed (< 2-3 mm) to ensure that the high heat rate requirement is fulfilled.

The heat supply typically comes from a secondary char combustor. Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Circulating fluidized bed pyrolyzers are similar to bubbling fluidized bed reactors but have shorter residence times for chars and vapours. they have higher processing capacity. However. The short residence times encountered in the reactor result in higher gas velocities faster vapour and char escape and higher char content in the bio-oil than bubbling fluidized beds.2. Fig 2-11 Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers 42 . better gas-solid contact and improved ability to handle solids that are more difficult to fluidize but are less commonly used.

Rapid heating and short gas phase residence times can be easily achieved in this reactor. The pressures of outgoing materials are slightly above atmospheric levels. Rotating Cone Pyrolyzer In a rotating cone pyrolysis reactor. so scaling can be an issue for the larger facilities. Fig 2-12 The Rotating Plate Pyrolyzer 4. can be pyrolyzed without pulverizing them. 43 . With this arrangement. The Rotating Plate Pyrolyzers The rotating plate pyrolysis reactors function on the premise that. However. the process is dependent on surface area. thereby resulting in smaller processing equipment and more intense reactions. heat transferred from a hot surface can soften and vaporize the feedstock in contact with it – allowing the pyrolysis reaction to move through the biomass in one direction. including logs. biomass particles at room temperature and hot sand are introduced near the bottom of a cone at the same time. They are mixed and transported upwards by the rotation of the cone. while under pressure. The most important feature is that there is no requirement for an inert gas medium.3. larger particles.

University of Arkansas.Fig 2-13 Rotating Cone Pyrolyzer (Samy Sadaka and A.) 44 .FSA1052. [online].A Boateng (2009): Pyrolysis and Bio-Oil . United States Department of Agriculture and County Governments Cooperating.

1Thermocouple A thermocouple is a sensor for measuring temperature. it will generate a small voltage. not absolute temperature. It is important to appreciate that thermocouples measure the temperature difference between two points. Thermocouples make use of this so-called Peltier-Seebeck effect. It consists of two dissimilar metals.3.2. Thermocouples produce an output voltage which depends on the temperature difference between the junctions of two dissimilar metal wires.3. refractory brick and refractory mortar. fibre glass. When the junction of the two metals is heated or cooled a voltage is produced that can be correlated back to the temperature. 45 .3 TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT In the production of biochar temperature control and measurement is paramount.Some materials usually used in the temperature control may be factored during the construction of the reactor and some may be used during the pyrolysis process.3. In 1822. joined together at one end. 2. The temperature regulation materials may include thermocouple. The temperature at which the pyrolyzer is operated will determine the quality and quantity of products to be obtained . an Estonian physicist named Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered that when any conductor (such as a metal) is subjected to a thermal gradient.

1.3. The nonlinear relationship between the temperature difference (∆T) and the output voltage (mV) of a thermocouple can be approximated by a polynomial: ………………1 The coefficients an are given for n from 0 to between 5 and 13 depending upon the metals. 2. whilst the other end is attached to a probe. 46 . For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range.In most applications. To achieve accurate measurements some type of linearization must be carried out. non-linearity must be corrected. the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures. either by a microprocessor or by analogue means. In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms.3. one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature.1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples. The relationship between the temperature difference and the output voltage of a thermocouple is nonlinear and is given by a complex polynomial equation (which is fifth to ninth order depending on thermocouple type).

So if a third metal is inserted in either wire and if the two new junctions are at the same temperature. 2. In other words.Laws of thermocouples 1. Law of intermediate materials The algebraic sum of the thermoelectric emfs in a circuit composed of any number of dissimilar materials is zero if all of the junctions are at a uniform temperature. Law of homogeneous material A thermoelectric current cannot be sustained in a circuit of a single homogeneous material by the application of heat alone. 3. provided all wires are made of the same materials as the thermocouple. temperature changes in the wiring between the input and output do not affect the output voltage. there will be no net voltage generated by the new metal. Law of successive or intermediate temperatures If two dissimilar homogeneous materials produce thermal emf1 when the junctions are at T1 and T2 and produce thermal emf2 when the junctions are at T2 and T3 . the emf generated when the junctions are at T1 and T3 will be emf1 + emf2 47 . regardless of how it might vary in cross section.

Very 1% C** W. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire. 48 . purpose. e.3.1.5% B Pt. usually referred to by a letter.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range.2. high use. 10%Cr Cu. 3%Re W. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required. Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others. K etc. 0. Table 2. J. 30%Rh Pt. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures. 26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W. 5%Re W.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals.g.5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use.3. 45%Ni 0.

14%Cr 4.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete . N* 1.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 .75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1.2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use.1.2°C 1300 0. 45%Ni 1.75% M** Ni Ni.5%Si 0. 10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni.5%Si 2.not for new designs 0.75% 2. reducing environment General purpose 0. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type.75% J Fe Cu.1%Mg (0 to 200) Type. K* Ni. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature. 1% G** W W. 1%Si 0.4% L** Fe Cu.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni. Ni. 18%Mo 2. 45%Ni 2.

45%Ni 1.not for to or -270 to 400 temperature.substitute for K & N types 0. Pt = Platinum. general low (0 to 50) temperature high or -50 to 1768 Precision.4% or 0 to 600 Obsolete . Cu = Copper. 13%Rh Pt 1. 10%Rh Pt 1. Similar to T type. U** Cu Cu. Materials codes: Al = Aluminium. 0.0°C (-60 to 100) tolerant moisture.25% S Pt. W = Tungsten 50 . Re = Rhenium. Si = Silicon. 45%Ni 1. Mg = Magnesium.5°C 0. high or -50 to 1768 Precision.75% T* Cu Cu. Rh = Rhodium.5°C (0 to 50) temperature Good purpose. Mo = Molybdenum. Cr = Chromium.25% R Pt.5°C new designs 0. Ni = Nickel.

existing holes may determine probe diameter) 2. the voltage generated by the measuring conductor would simply cancel that of the first conductor. thermocouples can only measure temperature differences and need a known reference temperature to yield the absolute readings. It is thus clear that.3. The voltage difference generated by the two materials can then be measured and related to the corresponding temperature gradient. therefore they are very often used in industry. 51 . To measure this voltage.3. Otherwise. The following criteria are used in selecting a thermocouple: • • • • Temperature range Chemical resistance of the thermocouple or sheath material Abrasion and vibration resistance Installation requirements (may need to be compatible with existing equipment.FACTOR THAT AFFECT THE CHOICE OF A THERMOCOUPLE Thermocouples measure wide temperature ranges and can be relatively rugged. based on Seebeck's principle. if the same material was used for the measurement.1. one must use a second conductor material which generates a different voltage under the same temperature gradient.3 Operation of Thermocouples The basis of thermocouples was established by Thomas Johann Seebeck in 1821 when he discovered that a conductor generates a voltage when subjected to a temperature gradient.

the Thomson effect relates the reversible thermal gradient and EMF in a homogeneous conductor. Thermocouple Circuit A typical thermocouple circuit can be illustrated as follows: Fig 2-14 Typical Thermocouple Circuit 52 . Peltier. Finally. Peltier effect describes the temperature difference generated by EMF and is the reverse of Seebeck effect. and Thomson effects. This coefficient is usually a nonlinear function of temperature. The Seebeck effect describes the voltage or electromotive force (EMF) induced by the temperature difference (gradient) along the wire.There are three major effects involved in a thermocouple circuit: the Seebeck. The change in material EMF with respect to a change in temperature is called the Seebeck coefficient or thermoelectric sensitivity.

the integral in the above equation can be simplified... 53 ..... All three Seebeck coefficients are functions of temperature. whereas in reality the lead wires will introduce noise into the circuit. metal A and metal B...Suppose that the Seebeck coefficients of two dissimilar metallic materials. If the Seebeck coefficients are nearly constant across the targeted temperature range. If the Seebeck coefficient functions of the two thermocouple wire materials are precalibrated and the reference temperature TRef is known (usually set by a 0°C ice bath). allowing one to solve directly for the temperature at the probe tip... The voltage output Vout measured at the gage (see schematic above) is. and the lead wires are SA. . TTip is the temperature at the probe tip... Note that mathematically the voltage induced by the temperature and/or material mismatch of the lead wires cancels.2 where TRef is the temperature at the reference point. SB.. and SLead respectively. the temperature at the probe tip becomes the only unknown and can be directly related to the voltage readout..

4 Note that the above formula is effective only if the reference temperature TRef in the experiment is kept the same as the reference temperature specified on the data sheet.... a thermocouple is a relative not absolute temperature sensor. such as thermistor.g. or Kelvin) when plugging in numbers... common commercialized thermocouples often include another temperature sensor... these coefficients are unit sensitive. it is not practical outside of a laboratory.. Suppose that the coefficients of the calibration polynomials are a0. a thermocouple requires a reference of known temperature which is provided by ice water in the above illustration. Furthermore. These functions are usually high order polynomials and are calibrated with respect to a certain reference temperature. In other words. vendors will provide calibration functions for their products. …………. . While ice water is an easy to obtain and well known reference. a2. 54 .... Celsius/centigrade.. an. Make sure to use the vendor-specified temperature unit (i. a1...3 In practice. e. to provide the reading of the reference (room/surrounding) temperature. Fahrenheit. Thus...e. The temperature at the probe tip can then be related to the voltage output as........... 0 °C (32 °F).... Again.

Table 2.4 Seebeck’s Coefficients of Some Materials

Seebeck Material Coefficient Material

Seebeck Material Coefficient

Seebeck Coefficient

Aluminium

3.5

Gold

6.5

Rhodium

6.0

Antimony

47

Iron

19

Selenium

900

Bismuth

-72

Lead

4.0

Silicon

440

Cadmium

7.5

Mercury

0.60

Silver

6.5

Carbon

3.0

Nichrome

25

Sodium

-2.0

Constantan

-35

Nickel

-15

Tantalum

4.5

Copper

6.5

Platinum

0

Tellurium

500

Germanium

300

Potassium

-9.0

Tungsten

7.5

55

2.3.3.1.4 Aging of Thermocouples Thermo elements are often used at high temperatures and in reactive furnace atmospheres. In this case the practical lifetime is determined by aging. The thermoelectric coefficients of the wires in the area of high temperature change with time and the measurement voltage drops. The simple relationship between the temperature difference of the joints and the measurement voltage is only correct if each wire is homogeneous. With an aged thermocouple this is not the case. Relevant for the generation of the measurement voltage are the properties of the metals at a temperature gradient. If an aged thermocouple is pulled partly out of the furnace, the aged parts from the region previously at high temperature enter the area of temperature gradient and the measurement error is significantly increased. However an aged thermocouple that is pushed deeper into the furnace gives a more accurate reading.

2.3.3.1.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples Advantages with thermocouples
• •

Capable of being used to directly measure temperatures up to 2600 oC. The thermocouple junction may be grounded and brought into direct contact with the material being measured.

56

Disadvantages with thermocouples

Temperature measurement with a thermocouple requires two temperatures be measured, the junction at the work end (the hot junction) and the junction where wires meet the instrumentation copper wires (cold junction). To avoid error the cold junction temperature is in general compensated in the electronic instruments by measuring the temperature at the terminal block using with a semiconductor, thermistor, or RTD.

Thermocouples operation is relatively complex with potential sources of error. The materials of which thermocouple wires are made are not inert and the thermoelectric voltage developed along the length of the thermocouple wire may be influenced by corrosion etc.

The relationship between the process temperature and the thermocouple signal (millivolt) is not linear.

The calibration of the thermocouple should be carried out while it is in use by comparing it to a nearby comparison thermocouple. If the thermocouple is removed and placed in a calibration bath, the output integrated over the length is not reproduced exactly.

2.3.3.1.6 Problems Associated with the use of Thermocouple Connection problems. Many measurement errors are caused by unintentional thermocouple junctions. Remember that any junction of two different metals will cause a junction. If you need to increase the length of the leads from your
57

Decalibration is the process of unintentionally altering the makeup of thermocouple wire. so has a lower resistance) to run between the thermocouple and measuring instrument. If thermocouples with thin leads or long cables are needed. Using any other type of wire will introduce a thermocouple junction.thermocouple. Another cause is impurities and chemicals from the insulation diffusing into the thermocouple wire. To minimize thermal shunting and improve response times. so it is prone to electrical noise pick up. It is always a good precaution to measure the resistance of your thermocouple before use. Lead Resistance. thermocouples are made of thin wire (in the case of platinum types cost is also a consideration). A typical exposed junction thermocouple with 32 AWG wire (0. Noise: The output from a thermocouple is a small signal. This can cause the thermocouple to have a high resistance which can make it sensitive to noise and can also cause errors due to the input impedance of the measuring instrument. you must use the correct type of thermocouple extension wire (egg type K for type K thermocouples). If operating at high temperatures.25 mm diameter) will have a resistance of about 15 Ohms / meter. it is worth keeping the thermocouple leads short and then using thermocouple extension wire (which is much thicker. The usual cause is the diffusion of atmospheric particles into the metal at the extremes of operating temperature. check the specifications of the probe insulation. Most measuring instruments (such as the TC-08) reject any common mode noise (signals that are the same on both wires) so noise can be minimised by 58 . Any connectors used must be made of the correct thermocouple material and correct polarity must be observed.

Additionally. These voltages can be caused either by inductive pick up (a problem when testing the temperature of motor windings and transformers) or by 'earthed' junctions. If noise pickup is suspected first switch off all suspect equipment and see if the reading changes. These signals are again common mode (the same in both thermocouple wires) so will not cause a problem with most instruments provided they are not too large. A typical example of an 'earthed' junction would be measuring the temperature of a hot water pipe with a non insulated thermocouple. and also by using insulated thermocouples. the TC-08 has a common mode input range of -4 V to +4 V. Common Mode Voltage: Although thermocouple signal are very small. Consider for example measuring the temperature of liquid in a test tube: there are two potential problems. For example. If the common mode voltage is greater than this then measurement errors will result. (such as near a large motor) it is worthwhile considering using a screened extension cable. If there are any poor earth connections a few volts may exist between the pipe and the earth of the measuring instrument. Common mode voltages can be minimised using the same cabling precautions outlined for noise. If operating in an extremely noisy environment. the TC-08 uses an integrating analogue to digital converter which helps average out any remaining noise. The first is that heat energy will travel up the thermocouple wire and 59 . much larger voltages often exist at the input to the measuring instrument. Heating this mass takes energy so will affect the temperature you are trying to measure.twisting the cable together to help ensure both wires pick up the same noise signal. Thermal Shunting: All thermocouples have some mass.

thermocouples are standardized by using 0 degrees C as a reference point.7 Calibrating Thermocouples In order to achieve accurate readings from a thermocouple.3. In the above example a thermocouple with thinner wires may help. standards. due to the cooler ambient air temperature on the wires. it must be uniform and cover a large enough area that the thermocouple can adequately be inserted into it (such as an ice bath). First.dissipate to the atmosphere so reducing the temperature of the liquid around the wires. and procedures must be in place. various types of measuring equipment. and many devices can adjust to compensate for the varying temperatures at thermocouple junctions.3. Typically. If thermocouples with thin wires are used.1. A similar problem can occur if the thermocouple is not sufficiently immersed in the liquid. 2. thermal conduction may cause the thermocouple junction to be a different temperature to the liquid itself. Sources of controlled temperatures are called fixed points. as it will cause a steeper gradient of temperature along the thermocouple wire at the junction between the liquid and ambient air. it’s essential to calibrate the device accordingly. The use of a thermocouple with thin wires connected to much thicker thermocouple extension wire often offers the best compromise. consideration must be paid to lead resistance. a control temperature must be established that is stable and provides a constant temperature. A fixed point cell is composed of a metal 60 . To calibrate a thermocouple.

A reference junction temperature must also be established. typically. with manufacturers disclosing the concentrations of ingredients and recommended applications in their catalogs. it maintains a very stable temperature. The primarily important property of refractory brick is that it can withstand very high temperatures without failing. It may be dense or porous. depending on the applications it is designed for. can be used to measure thermocouple output. This brick product is made with specialty clays which can be blended with materials such as magnesia. It also tends to have low thermal conductivity. alumina. The exact composition of refractory brick varies. When this metal sample reaches the freezing point. with a graphite thermometer submerged in the metal sample. A measuring instrument. also known as fire brick. such as Fluke 702 calibrator. High quality refractory brick has a number of traits which make it distinct from other types of brick. The freezing point occurs when a material reaches the point between the solid and liquid phase. Furthermore.sample within a graphite crucible. 0 C is used. refractory brick can withstand impact from objects inside a high heat environment.2 Refractory Brick Refractory brick. 2. is a type of specialized brick which is designed for use in high heat environments such as kilns and furnaces. and chromium oxide. 61 .3. silicon carbide. silica. which is designed to make operating environments safer and more efficient.3. depending on the design and the intended utility. and it can contain minor explosions which may occur during the heating process.

with several inventors contributing radical reworkings to make such products safer and more reliable. It can crack. necessitating regular inspection of environments where this product is used. If damaged bricks are identified. APPLICATION Some places where refractory brick can appear include: fireplaces. 62 . ceramic kilns. forges. and to reduce the risk of injuries. Companies continue to experiment with recipes and manufacturing process to develop even better products which will increase efficiency and safety while cutting down on maintenance costs. The earliest refractory bricks were developed around the 1800s. Even though it is specifically designed for high heat environments. refractory brick will eventually start to fail. The bricks can also accumulate soot and other materials through routine use.Using refractory brick which is not designed for the application can be dangerous. flake. or break down over time. and some types of ovens. as the bricks may fail cracking. furnaces. they need to be removed and replaced with new bricks to ensure that the device operates as intended. and they may need to be scrubbed down periodically. or developing other problems during use which could pose a threat to safety in addition to fouling a project. equipment failure. cremation furnaces. exploding. wood stoves. and other problems.

3. is also called "fibreglass" in popular usage. It is also used as a reinforcing agent for many polymer products. properly known as fibrereinforced polymer (FRP) or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). A somewhat similar. Fig 2-15 Fibre Glass 63 .3 FIBRE GLASS Fibreglass is commonly used as an insulating material.3.2. the resulting composite material. but more expensive technology used for applications requiring very high strength and low weight is the use of carbon fibre.

Properties of FIBRE GLASS The basis of textile-grade glass fibres is silica. (SiO2) n. E-CR-glass (alumino-lime silicate with less than 1 wt% alkali oxides. most of the molecules can move about freely. R-glass (alumino silicate glass without MgO and CaO with high mechanical requirements).630 °F). If the glass is then cooled quickly. mainly used for glass-reinforced plastics).TYPES OF FIBRE GLASS The types of fibreglass most commonly used are mainly E-glass (alumino-borosilicate glass with less than 1 wt% alkali oxides. At 1. and S-glass (alumino silicate glass without CaO but with high MgO content with high tensile strength). used for example for glass staple fibres). In the polymer. The differences between them are their physical properties and compositions. they will be unable to form an ordered structure. where it starts to degrade. has high acid resistance). In its pure form it exists as a polymer. E-glass comes from calcium whereas S-glass is created with magnesium. C-glass (alkali-lime glass with high boron oxide content.115 °F).713 °C (3. it forms SiO4 groups that are configured as a tetrahedron with the silicon atom at the centre 64 . It has no true melting point but softens at 2. E-glass and S-glass. SiO2. D-glass (borosilicate glass with high dielectric constant). but also Aglass (alkali-lime glass with little or no boron oxide).000 °C (3. Sglass also has a higher tensile and compressive strength (the maximum stress it can take before breaking).

The vitreous and crystalline states of silica (glass and quartz) have similar energy levels on a molecular basis. 65 . Although pure silica is a perfectly viable glass and glass fibre. E-glass. S-glass is a high-strength formulation for use when tensile strength is the most important property. In order to induce crystallization. Its particular components may differ slightly in percentage. it must be heated to temperatures above 1. but must fall within a specific range.200 °C (2. It was not very resistant to alkali. The letter E is used because it was originally for electrical applications. These materials also impart various other properties to the glass that may be beneficial in different applications. This was the first glass formulation used for continuous filament formation.and four oxygen atoms at the corners. A new type. It is usual to introduce impurities into the glass in the form of other materials to lower its working temperature. which is a drawback unless its specific chemical properties are needed. These atoms then form a network bonded at the corners by sharing the oxygen atoms. was formed. E-glass still makes up most of the fibreglass production in the world. mostly acids that destroy E-glass.190 °F) for long periods of time. this is an alumino-borosilicate glass that is alkali free (<2%). also implying that the glassy form is extremely stable. it must be worked with at very high temperatures. C-glass was developed to resist attack from chemicals. The first type of glass used for fibre was soda lime glass or A glass.

The picture shows the microstructure of a glass fibre. surfboards. tent poles. have similar properties in all directions. pole vault poles. because of the underlying amorphous structure. GPa Elongation. However a large surface area is not always a good idea as its performance can be severely impaired by contact with moisture and chemicals. GPa Tensile Modulus. high-strength fabrics. heat.% E-glass 2580 3. kg/m Tensile Strength. They are often used in high stress situations because they can undergo a higher elongation than carbon fibres before breaking. boat 66 .45 72.0 5.9 S-glass 2490 4. bows and crossbows. hockey sticks. arrows.5 Properties of E and G Types Fibre Glass Property Density. sound insulation.7 The high surface area to weight ratio make glass fibres useful in many situations. electrical insulation.Table 2. sound absorption.and corrosion-resistant fabrics.6 85.5 4. thermal insulation. Uses of Fibreglass: Uses for regular fibreglass include mats. translucent roofing panels. Whereas Kevlar’s weakness is that its strength is only along the fibre axis. automobile bodies. reinforcement of various materials. fibreglass products.

67 .hulls. Fiberglas is extensively used for making FRP tanks and vessels. and paper honeycomb. Fiberglas is also used in the design of Irish stepdance shoes. It has been used for medical purposes in casts.

2.4 BLOCK DIAGRAM OF PROCESS WOOD WASTE BIOMASS COLLECTION FARMLAND WASTE CHIPPING DRYING SLOW PYROLYSIS COMPOST GAS BIOCHAR SOIL APPLICATION Fig 2-15 Flow Diagram of Biochar Production 68 .3.

While all organic material eventually decomposes. promotes the healthy development of root systems in plants. Compost is generally made by collecting organic waste and material in a container. which is a liquid high in nitrogen. and vegetables. manure. Converting waste to compost fertilizer helps to free up valuable and limited space in landfills. water is added and the ingredients are mixed together. causing the compost pile to heat up.4 Compost Compost fertilizer a product that provides helpful nutrients to soil. compost activator is often added. while the brown ingredients provide carbon. At this point in the process. often called a compost bin. The compost fertilizer is most effective when there is a proper balance between green ingredients. to speed up the decomposition process. sawdust. dried leaves. microbes in the mix start to multiply and break down the organic components of the material. fruits. vegetable and fruit waste and brown waste such as wood. and provides an ecologically and environmentally friendly means of disposing of food waste and lawn clippings.2. straw and paper. In the compost mix green components provide nitrogen. This type of fertilizer is generally formed through the controlled decomposition of organic material such as plants. plants. composting speeds up the process and helps forms a nutrient-rich soil. When the compost pile is formed. Compost fertilizer helps soil retain water. flowers and vegetables. such as green clippings. It has been estimated that food and lawn waste account for approximately 30% of all waste in landfills. 69 . Once the ingredients are combined in the compost bin.

It is often combined with existing soil. This is the product that experienced gardeners often call black gold because it is so valuable to plants. etc. The bag will have holes in it so that air can enter and the beneficial microbes can breathe and be kept alive. Compost fertilizer may also be used as part of a potting soil mix. preventing disease. 2. making compost tea. Biological – This is the highest quality compost and therefore the most beneficial in improving soils. and Industrial. which allows the nutrients in the compost to slowly release into the soil. If the pile has a bad smell like garbage. Compost fertilizer has several different applications. Commercial. These are Biological. The completed compost should have a dark brown colour and smell earthy and musty like fresh soil.When properly maintained.4.1 Types of Compost Compost can be broken into three basic types based on its quality and usage. It can be used very similarly to mulch and applied around flowers and plants to reduce the growth of weeds and retain water around the plants. it is more than likely not ready and may need additional material added to it to correct the balance of the overall mixture. compost fertilizer should be ready for use in approximately two to four weeks. 70 .

It often contains fillers like sawdust and rice hulls which are chemically burned black from the industrial waste. etc.Commercial – This is a middle grade of compost made from sewage sludge. 2. construction debris. Industrial – This is the lowest grade of products called compost. It is made from industrial wastes like boiler ash. It will be in a sealed bag and may have a sour or stale odour. The better manure based composts may be found here. It may be extremely alkaline and high in toxic salts. Listed below are some of these Kitchen waste Lawn clippings (use thin layers so they don't mat down) Chopped leaves (large leaves take a long time to break down) Shredded branches garden plants (use disease free plants) 71 .2 Materials used for making compost Compost can be made from a number of materials: materials. It is often very black and sometimes will rub off in your hand.4.

3 Uses of compost Compost is a valuable material that does many jobs and does them well. salts and other toxic materials. One of the activities of the soil organisms is the consumption of this organic matter. In regions in which the growing season is extended or 72 .digested" a lot of the material making it easier for the soil organisms to assimilate as nutrients. The feeding of the soil organisms needs to be on-going.shredded paper weeds (before they go to seed) straw newspapers wood ash (sprinkle lightly between layers) hay 2. Most garden soils are low in organic content. Generally speaking. diversity and activity of the soil organisms. Making the soil richer in organic content. the soil organisms in regions with a relatively short growing season can consume a 2" (5 cm) layer of compost or composted manure per year. Composted material is also cleaner relative to pathogens. increasing the quantity.4. The uses include: • NUTRIENT SOURCE FOR THE SOIL ORGANISMS: Compost is the best. The composting process has "pre. all around source of organic material as a nutrient for soil organisms. There always seem to be the need for more compost than is available.

Plant nutrition involves the processing of minerals and other nutrients by the soil organisms. NPK numbers are only half the story. In practice. compost contains adequate levels of the various mineral nutrients but can be shy of trace elements. The manufacture and sale of synthetic fertilizers is big business. It takes a lot of organic material to feed the soil organisms. Compost. Fish emulsion or fish meal usually contain enough of the trace elements that supplemental feedings with either material would correct possible deficiencies. and it helps to create better porosity. Trade associations prevailed on a number of State governments to pass legislation that prohibits the sale of manures and composts as "fertilizers".continuous. • NUTRIENT SOURCE FOR THE PLANTS: It is often said that compost is a soil amendment and not a fertilizer. It helps the soil particles to bond and form soil aggregates. it helps in the way these aggregates retain and release plant nutrients.5. they can consume twice that much.5-0.5-0. • SOIL AMENDMENT TO IMPROVE DRAINAGE: Organic material. This is mostly an issue of semantics. The justification was that manures and composts are generally low in their content of mineral nutrients and particularly in terms of the trace elements. The NPK numbers for a typical compost would be somewhere around 0. in general. Feeding the garden means feeding the soil organisms and compost is an excellent source of these nutrients. At the use level. • SOIL AMENDMENT TO IMPROVE STRUCTURE: Compost is the organic material of choice to improve soil structure. better than any other material. helps clay soil to become workable. will amend slow draining clay soils to drain faster and sharp draining sand soils to drain 73 .

Soil organisms do better when temperature changes are gradual. adding to the life of the soil. This helps to minimize the loss of soil moisture. The compost layer is eventually consumed by the soil organisms. Too thick a layer of compost as a mulch can create watering problems.slower. • MULCH TO MINIMIZE LOSS OF SOIL MOISTURE: Compost acts like a sponge and retains moisture. 74 . The mulch layer serves as a physical barrier keeping weed seeds from getting into the soil and as a light barrier keeping weed seeds that are already in the soil from germinating. A layer of compost on the soil surface will catch and hold moisture that would otherwise evaporate from the soil. Compost is of particular value as a soil amendment to improve drainage in that it works so well and is so easy to use. The flip side is that it also tends to catch and hold water that would otherwise enter to irrigate the soil. • MULCH TO INSULATE SOIL: Compost has good insulating properties and a layer of compost slows down changes in soil temperatures as a result of changes in the weather. • MULCH TO MINIMIZE PROBLEMS WITH WEEDS: A good 2" (5cm) layer of compost works very well as mulch but with the understanding that this mulch layer is temporary. particularly by earthworms.

1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3. wood shavings and rice husk. ii.0 METHODOLOGY 3.2 Drying Procedure i.AG Timbers. 75 . Kaasi.1.project site at FABI Rice Husk-Asuanse 3.A sample of the saw dust was first collected and tested for its moisture content. Wood shavings .The saw dust was spread on a tarpaulin to dry. Kumasi in the Ashanti region Ghana. Source: Saw dust.CHAPTER THREE 3.1 Biomass Collection Raw Material used Saw dust.1.

Fig 3-1 Drying of Odum sawdust Fig 3-2 Covering of sawdust 76 .

with a pH close to 7. 77 . Standard buffer solutions of known pH values . Distilled water.3 Determination of pH pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral. The pH of the samples used and the char obtained were determined.standards used were pH of 4.0 at 25 °C (77 °F).1. Apparatus and Materials pH meter.0. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. teaspoon or small scoop.Fig 3-3 covered saw dust 3. glass stiffing rod. glass beaker.

The electrode was immersed till the meter reading stabilized. while stirring every 10 to 15 minutes to allow the pH of the samples to stabilize. The electrode was then rinsed well with distilled water 3. The electrode was then placed into the mixture and the solutions gently turned to make good contact between the solutions and the electrode. desiccator Procedure i.4 Moisture Content Determination Apparatus/Equipment Crucible. An empty crucible was first measured and its mass noted as m1. 12 ml of distilled water was added to the samples and stirred to obtain a mixture and the beakers covered with watch glasses. IV. the samples were stirred well with a glass rod. 78 . Known masses of 0. VII. III.Procedure I. Oven. The samples were allowed to stand for a minimum of one hour. Prior to immersing the electrode into the samples. IX. The pH values were then read and recorded to 2 decimal places.2g of the samples were weighed and put in the glass beakers. The pH meter was then standardized by means of the standard solutions provided. VI. VIII. II. Analytical balance.1. V. The electrode was not placed in the samples itself but only in the slurry.

ii. The mass of the sample was then taken. iii. the sample in the oven was removed and cooled over a period of 45 minutes in a desiccator (to prevent the sample from absorbing moisture from the atmosphere).. A sample of the raw materials was put into the crucible and weighed . After every hour. The sample in the crucible was put in an electric oven and heated to a temperature of about 115oC. iv.Its mass was then recorded as m2.6 N/B: The moisture content was determined for samples before and after drying them. 79 . The moisture content was obtained using the relation: Moisture content = loss in weight initial weight M = m 2 − m3 × 100 m2 − m1 ……………. This was repeated until a constant mass was obtained and recorded as m3.

The reactor has insulating materials that prevent it from loosing heat to the environment. The hearth is the section at the bottom part of reactor. Refractory mortar: This layer comes after the fibre glass. It has the ability to withstand heat to about 1200oC. They are: Fibre glass: Attached to the inner lining of the iron drum is coarse fibre glass.3. Attached to the reactor. The lower portion of the reactor has grates or mesh that prevents the feed from entering the hearth. one mounted on top of the other. Its properties allow it to withstand temperatures of about 1400oC The iron drum is coated outwardly with aluminium sheets. It has two openings: one for feeding the reactor and the other for collecting the char after it has been produced. The outer part of the iron drum is insulated with fine fibre glass. These gases help to sustain the pyrolysis process. 80 . where the char is collected after pyrolysis and also where the fire is lit. is a reflux pipe that returns the product gases to the reactor during pyrolysis.2 REACTOR OPERATIONS Description of Reactor The reactor is made up of two cylindrical iron drums.

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

A curve-fitting method was used to fit a line to the recorded data—the slope of the line became the voltage increase per each degree of temperature increase. • After all the measurements were taken. the temperature was periodically checked along the reactor using a thermocouple. the voltage for the thermocouple type at the room’s temperature was determined. While the burning took place. 3. The given figure was then added to each of the recorded voltage values gathered previously.Calibration of Thermocouple • • A basic calibration process involves heating water to 30 degrees C in a thermo bath.1 HEATING OF REACTOR A mixture of dry woods and wood shavings were first fed to the reactor and then lit. and the voltage was recorded again. until 60 degrees C was reached. • The water temperature was increased to 35 degrees C. to know whether the desired 82 . The voltage was then recorded once the multimeter reading becomes stable.2. This process was repeated by increasing the temperature by five degree increments and the voltage recorded. the multimeter registed one microvolt. Two openings (hearth and chimney) of the reactor were also opened to facilitate the complete burning of the wood into ashes. The thermocouple was turned on and each of the two multimeter leads are attached to one end of the thermocouple—at this point. • One junction of the thermocouple was then placed into the thermo bath.

83 . Sack. The heating was allowed to take place until no smoke was observed flowing out of the chimney. Mass balance.temperature had been obtained. Fig 3-5 Heating of Reactor 3.2 BIOMASS WEIGHING Equipment/Apparatus: Shovel. At this point the heating material is completely burnt.2.

Fig 3-6 Weighing of saw dust 3.2. The temperature within the reactor was periodically checked to monitor the process. the lower opening of the reactor was closed. 84 . The saw dust / wood shavings were collected with a shovel and bagged. The bag of saw dust / wood shavings was then sent to the reactor . The feed was then fed through the upper opening. ii. and the opening tightly closed for the charring process to begin.Procedure: i.3 CHARGING OF THE REACTOR After the wood had been burnt completely and the desired temperature reached. iii. The sack containing the saw dust and wood shavings was then hanged on a mass balance and its mass recorded.

Fig 3-7 feeding of reactor 85 .

3. trowel.4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR Apparatus/Equipments Metallic pan.Fig 3-8 Taking of Temperature after Feeding Reactor. 86 .2.

The grate was pushed down for the biochar to fall into the hearth. Water was then sprinkled on the biochar to prevent combustion. With the feeder and the chimney closed.Procedure i. iii. the hearth was opened. The wet biochar was then spread on a tarpaulin and dried. Fig 3-9 Discharged Biochar in a Wheel Barrow 87 . The trowel was used to collect the biochar into a pan. v. iv. ii.

..3.............5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR The dried biochar was then collected and weighed.....2........ The yield was determined by the following relation: Biochar Yield= ∗ 100% .7 88 ....

34 10.34 5.8 10.84 10.8 28.6 7.43 7.% Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 Wood shavings B3 Average Wood shavings B Wawa Stain A1 Wawa Stain A2 Average Wawa Stain A Wawa Stain B Wawa Stain C1 Wawa Stain C2 Wawa Stain C3 6.83 10.8 5.0 RESULTS 4.o C Content.59 7.81 26.83 10.6 5.6 89 .1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.01 6.7 28.9 29.34 26.51 7.8 28.34 28. pH and moisture content analysis of raw material Mass of raw material= 0.7 27.CHAPTER FOUR 4.1 pH and Moisture Content Of Various Raw Materials Moisture Raw Material pH Temperature .2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.6 7.6 6.34 10.7 26.

6 26.94 29.71 7.82 7.74 4.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.8 7.56 7.15 26.81 26.2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8.9 8.88 29.Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.7 29.17 8.74 7. % Average Wood shavings 7.81 6.7 26.68 7. o C Yield.4 7.9 27 pH Temperature.1 29.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.59 7.94 7.5 6.92 90 .58 26.74 7.

74 8.75 8.3 91 .21 10.4 26.B Wawa Stain A1 Wawa Stain A2 Average Wawa Stain A Wawa Stain C1 Wawa Stain C2 14kg Wawa Stain C3 Average Wawa Stain C Wawa Stain C1* Wawa Stain C2* 14kg Wawa Stain C3* Average Wawa Stain C* Odum A1* 36kg Odum A2* Average Odum A Odum B1 15kg Odum B2 Average Odum B Odum C1 15kg Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.19 8.76 10.7 27.34 8.8 29.1 16.83 10.41 8.9 27.82 10.74 8.55 27.67 27.73 8.48 8.1 insignificant 27.9 Not properly charred 26.2 27.72 10.5 15.42 8.83 28.23 8.57 8.83 10.78 26.75 28.7 1.53 8.8 1.1 27.1 27.42 10.

226) Not Odum A 36 charred Odum B Odum C Wood Shavings A Wood Shaving B Wood Shavings C Wood Shavings D Rice husk A Rice husk B 15 15 22 24 23 10 10 2.4 Odum A*.5 7 6. 39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed.08 26.2 4.67 29.% 92 .42 Biochar Yield.9 27.5 6.0 4. kg Obtained.78 16. kg Ash(56.Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.09 42 40 properly 1.00 at 28.0 15.741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142.367 2.

C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4. Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4. o C o Temperature.2 361.7 359.8 607.3 769. B.2 513.6 802.8 562. Temperature.2 741. Temperature.2 562.3 Temperature Measurement 4th February.8 93 .5 385.4 T1 T2 T3 721.5 571. 2011.9 72. Level C o C o C 807.3 779.8 341.5 84.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts.38 NB: A.6 813.5 816.3 814.Rice husk C 130 59 45.8 49.

3 Ts . T6 are temperatures at levels 1. T3.6 827.8 145.1 57.3 83. C o Ts. 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4. 5.3 82.4 233.6 79.4 86.1 92. 3.9 89.7 98.3 790. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti. oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 .1 52.5 50.2 77.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti.9 70.7 144.3 97.5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts .6 670.6 126. T2.1 93.3 87. T4.3 881.5 80.3 53.temperature inside the reactor T1. 2.oC (after Level Ti.9 880.2 64.7 101.5 68.3 201. C o Ti. 4. T5.7 968.9th February.2 85.2 55. C o Ts.2 556.6 72.

3 172.3 190.4 T3 708.3 213.4 310.6 140.7 243.0 412.1 140.8 T6 420.0 166.8 134.6 185.9 T4 516.1 205.5 166.4.1 147.6 138.7 317.5 139.5 224.9 82.6 138.7 100.3 174.9 95 .4 317.4 144.8 165.2 402.44 128.6 212.2 443.3 350.9 T5 591.2 137.4 85.2 T2 620.9 227.7 97.6 213.5 128.4 83.7 169.0 255.7 319.4 185.3 171.3 119.8 310.9 188.2 209.4 124.0 180.9 208.5 139.2 192.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.9 198.4 92.7 261.3 105.3 206.2 224.1 115.7 283.4 262.2 115.6 355.5 148.6 318.6 115.5 265.7 118.4 140.1 168.5 124.4 Feeding at 15:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 00:00 01:00 02:00 549.1 205.3100.

8 185.4 140.4 417.7 358.8 249.4 107.4 368.8 250.4 92.6 133.3 163.4 344.7 157.6 152.7 357.8 150.4 369.2 135.8 127.4 88.3 316.3 108.8 92.2 253.9 371.4 125.2 105.4 112.4 87.7 251.5 144.3 141.5 254.1 387.8 405.2 98.9 79.3 431.5 158.1 113.7 144.3 104.7 108.5 256.4 422.6 146.1 336.3 230.3 174.6 90.4 96 .9 120.8 151.4 161.1 249.6 86.7 324.5 212.0 84.8 110.1 87.3 110.5 99.0 322.9 219.8 402.8 150.5 88.7 321.9 80.6 154.1 166.9 110.4 408.6 111.0 186.7 153.2 407.4 167.2 183.6 265.8 244.8 152.4 349.5 254.5 318.9 149.6 93.3 140.0 153.8 119.03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 153.8 154.9 265.2 123.8 148.6 351.

2 77.1 87.4 427.9 382.5 238.1 398.1 331.6 74.4 78.2 125.4 85.4 406.1 127.4 251.0 423.6 410.2 74.1 239.3 123.8 112.1 96.2 114.2 332.4 132.9 92.3 55.1 65.2 88.4 120.4 103.9 128.6 364.2 109.1 71.5 338.4 410.8 95.5 86.5 117.1 89.6 80.9 94.1 68.3 102.3 103.4 97 .2 87.4 92.1 389.5 381.3 330.4 411.9 96.6 117.4 65.6 64.5 112.7 221.2 82.8 225.0 107.7 100.2 76.5 336.4 139.4 139.7 107.0 377.9 91.2 362.4 128.3 374.3 134.6 90.4 75.8 106.9 115.4 65.9 139.3 114.3 243.9 413.8 408.2 89.0 332.5 373.7 377.3 104.3 73.5 241.1 122.2 112.7 258.4 136.7 93.19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 132.5 111.

3 98.8 365.7 98.3 125.9 96.9 90.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.1 355.3 96.9 100.9 92.2 386.2 101.6 101.5 433.3 379.7 98.7 99.7 120.1 98 .2 407.2 94.5 380.2 211.5 374.5 433.1 96.1 125.7 123.1 95.1 414.

Figure 4-1 A diagram showing the various levels at which temperature is measured. 99 .

24 1.49 17.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4.33 164.16 61.3 Mg 6.49 19. 4.68 4.28 6.68 2.41 Na 2.15 11.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.58 24.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.09 40.54 5.7 NB: K.09 1570.61 13.36 2038. P.07 K 6.67 4.35 10.91 2.62 52.17 1851.45 7.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.31 7.02 11.7 Ca 19. Mg.76 6.55 ppm K 1945. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar. 100 .45 77.82 2202.68 2.

Initial temperature was too low. 101 . Mass of feed was too much 3. This could be attributed to the fact that the was the presence of oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere. Feeding the reactor was difficult because the reactor was very hot and part of the feed was lost during the process.1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED ODUM A (36kg) There was very little ash produced little char and lots of uncharred saw dust. When the uncharred saw dust was removed from the reactor and exposed to the atmosphere. it began to burn. 4. Inability to measure the temperature due to the absence of drilled holes on the sides of the reactor. Inability of heat to go through the feed due to small pore spaces of saw dust. Problems 1. therefore charring was incomplete. 5.CHAPTER FIVE 5.0 DISCUSSION 5. 2.

This oxygen may have entered through the drilled holes on the side of the reactor which were not blocked during the pyrolysis process. The large amount of ash produced compared to the char gotten could be attributed to the large amount of oxygen that was present in the reactor. High temperature of the reactor burnt the first sample of saw dust that reached it before complete feeding was done.Fig 5-1 Odum sawdust (A) Biochar ODUM B (15kg Odum) There was a lot of ash and a considerable amount of charred saw dust. 2. 102 . Problems 1.

56. This was because of the large amount of smoke and heat that came out of the reactor through the feeder. It may also have resulted from the combustion of the sawdust at the time of feeding the reactor. The feeding of the reactor with the sawdust took some considerable amount of time.3. Fig 5-2 Odum sawdust Biochar WAWA STAIN SAWDUST For 14kg of wawa stain sawdust used. The volume occupied by the saw dust compared to the reactor volume was small.226g of biochar.42%. This gave a yield of 1. Hence there was accumulation of oxygen at the unoccupied volume of the reactor.741g of ash and 142. 103 . The ash produced may have resulted from the oxygen that may have entered the reactor.

Wood Shavings (B and C) The wood shavings used were generally composed of a mixture of Red woods (African mahogany and Sapelewood). Wawa and Teak. Very little oil was seen seeping from the sides of the reactor (drilled holes provided 104 . Celsius were recorded during the pyrolysis process. from the yield obtained from the wawa sawdust compared to the odum sawdust. This caused the combustion of the sawdust into ashes. The wawa sawdust can thus be said to be a non–economical biochar feed stock. it can be said that the wawa sawdust gave a less amount of char. It took about three days to char because moderates temperatures of about 350 Deg. Hence.The delay in the feeding process resulted in the accumulation of large amount of oxygen in the reactor. the wawa sawdust should not be recommended for mass production of biochar. Also. Fig 5-3 Wawa stain biochar.

High temperature: The high temperature in the reactor made feeding difficult. it had about 98% charred material and about 2% partially charred material. The follow reasons may have accounted for the reduction in yield: • • Variation in mass of the various wood types. collection of oil was difficult.for temperature readings). it was expected that the 24kg wood shavings would have given about the same percentage yield (7.9%. The char also had some charcoal in it due to the wood used to heat up the reactor. Thus. Since 22kg wood shaving (B) gave a yield of 29. Due to this. During feeding. it took a long time feeding the reactor with the 24kg wood shavings compared to the 22kg wood shavings. The large amount of oxygen was as a result of the time used during feeding. The wood shavings which were charred before the feeding was complete were burnt into ashes due to the large amount of oxygen that was allowed into the reactor during feeding. Using 22kg of wood shavings (B) and 24kg of wood shavings (C) a yield of 29.2 kg) of biochar.9% and 27. but that was not the case. the first batch of feed that was allowed into the reactor began to char even before feeding was complete.08% was obtained respectively. After the char was removed. 105 .

Fig 5-4 Biochar from wood shavings Wood Shavings D It is generally composed of Asanfra (Asanfena). comm. This is because Asanfra is noted to be an oil bearing wood (Dr. Some oil was also observed dripping from the vent cap and the flange (some oil was actually collected from the flange about 10ml). A lot of oil was observed seeping from the holes. pers. E. Using 23kg of the wood shavings a yield of 26.09% was obtained. The char obtained was oily. Yeboah. 25th March 2011). Wawa and Teak and with this it took about two days to char. 106 .

which reduces the yield. more ash is produced. In comparison with that obtained for saw dust and wood shavings the rice husk produced a higher yield of char. hence this enhances pyrolysis and reduce combustion. In addition. the more air enters and subsequently. 107 . the rice husks have smaller air space between them than the wood shavings. The charring process took two days and more oil was obtained. therefore do not allow more oxygen to accumulate within its pore spaces. This is partly due to the fact that it takes less time to feed 10kg of rice husk than 10kg of wood shavings. The longer the time taken to feed the reactor.0% char was obtained from 10kg of rice husk. Rice husk is noted as a good insulating material for building . This explains why less ash is obtained even at higher temperatures compared to wood shavings.Rice Husk A yield of 42.

108 .2 Temperature Distribution Temperature distribution within the reactor is uneven. It was observed that the temperature within the reactor drops drastically during charging (feeding of reactor) and rises gradually with time after charging. palm kennel shell and husks. Tables 4-4 and 4-5 depict this observation. A lot of fuel (e.Fig 5-6 Biochar from rice husk 5. etc) is required to obtain higher temperatures. firewood.g. Therefore the mass of the fuel used is proportional to the heat produced.

From the analysis (appendix C). it can be deduced that wawa stain biochar contains more macronutrients compared to the rice husk. This is a result of the high rate of heat loss to the surrounding cold air as a result of the recycle tube (pipe) not lagged.During charring. T6 is hotter than the immediate lower portion. This is due to the accumulation of hot dense gases at that point within the reactor. From table 4.7. Ca and Na are needed in larger quantities by plants for proper growth and development. Also. P.4-1). 5. Rain also has a heat loss effect on the process. Major nutrients tend to be less available in soils with low pH (acidic) and less available in soils with high pH. 2. Major nutrients such as K. wawa sawdust was found to have a higher pH (basic) and thus can be inferred to provide more macronutrients when applied to the soil. During a 48 hour observation (appendix E) on the changes of temperature within the reactor during the process. odum saw dust and wood shavings biochar. the high pH value obtained suggests that there was greater ash content compared to the other biochar samples. it is observed that the uppermost portion of the reactor (Fig. Temperatures within and outside the reactor rises as the surrounding atmosphere increases in temperature due to reduced or no heat loss from the reactor. Temperature drops significantly during the night.3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES) The pH of the biochar has an influence on the availability of plant nutrients (major and minor). T5. The major nutrients that are displayed in 109 . 3. the following observations were made: 1.

110 .7 are found to be water soluble. Biochars from wawa saw dust and odum saw dust can thus be best applied to acidic soils. The pHs of most of the biochar was found to be basic. This suggests that they can be applied to soils which are more acidic to neutralize them.table 4. They dissolved in soil water and made available to plants for easy absorption and use.

Thus. Also.CHAPTER SIX 6. it retains most of it carbon contents. The existence of temperature gradient influences uniform charring of the feedstock. may be used as a complete fertilizer or to enrich soil fertilizers. the pH of biochar is influenced largely by the feedstock type. As a product from pyrolysis of such materials. they decompose into CO2and CH4. moisture content and the residence time of the feedstock in the reactor. which promote global warming. through biochar technology. as well as contains good amounts of most major and minor soil nutrients (appendix A) to support plant growth. burnt in huge heaps on farmlands and dumpsites cause the destruction of soil nutrients and micro organisms. which are usually. Thus the efficiency of the charring process is influenced by the quantity of feedstock in the reactor. This will go a long way to reduce the cost incurred by the government in importing fertilizers. 111 . wood shavings and sawdust. these materials are made useful. Temperature gradients exist within the biochar reactor being highest at the source of heat and declining further away from the heat source. The use and application of biochar should be guided by the purposeful selection of feedstock.1 CONCLUSION Agricultural waste such as rice husk. On the other hand. However. if these materials are left to decay.

nose masks and heat gloves should provided. Protective clothing such as goggles. be 112 . A sliding spout feeder may be employed.6. The reflux tube should be properly lagged to reduce heat loss.2 RECOMMENDATIONS An alternative method of feeding the reactor should be provided.

aadet. Sun Grant Initiative and the University of Tennesee.htm>[Accessed 2010 October 4] 3. Available from :< http://bioweb. Parliament of Australia. Sun Grant Initiative and the Tennesee.com/resources/thermocoupletypes.com/article/sawdust .controlandinstrumentation. Available from: http://www.org/Technical/Biopower/Technologies/Pyrolysis/> [Accessed 2010 October 9.Last modified 2008 September 9]. Answers Corporation. Samy Sadaka (edited by Marie Walsh).html>.Available from: http://www. Available from: <http://bioweb. [Accessed 2010 October 8] 113 [Accessed 2010 .au/privacy. Available from:< http://www.answers. Pyrolysis [online]. University of (2007).The Processes and Benefits [online]. Conversion and Resource Evaluation Ltd: Biochar .com.com/article/ > [Accessed 2010 October 9] 4. Control and Instrumentation. Wikipedia (2010): Saw Dust. [Online].sungrant.org/General/Biopower/Technologies/Pyrolysis>[Acce sses2010 September 29.enviro-news. S.6. S. Parliamentary library (2009): the basics of biochar [online].S.gov.[Accessed 2010 November 5] 2.Available from :<http://www.com: Thermocouple types [online]. Environmental Improvement Solutions.3 REFERENCES 1. Available from: <http://www.aph.] Last modified 2008 November 15] 6. Samy Sadaka.aadet.sungrant. Wikipedia: Thermocouples [online].com/library/Wikipedia-cid-83243> October 9] 7. 5.S (2007) Pyrolysis [online].

114 . Sci-Tech Encyclopedia (2010): Wood properties. Smith.html> [Accessed 2010 October 15] 12.matbase.htm> [Accessed 2010 October 9] 9.htm>.com/thermocouples- d_496. S. Resources.engineeringtoolbox. [Accessed 2010 November 10]. MATBASE(2009):Wood[online].Available from: <http://www. Available from :< http://www.Available from:<http://newenergy and fuel.efunda. Available from: < http://www.com/designstandards/sensors/thermocouples/thmcple_intr o. Tools and Basic Information for Engineering and Design of Technical Applications: Thermocouples [online].com/w/page/FrontPage> [Accessed 2010 October 18] 13.WordPress.E (2010): What Is Refractory Brick? [online].cfm.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2008/11/19/torrefaction---a-newprocess-in-biomass-and-biofuels/>[Accessed 2010 November 4] 14.wiseGEEK.Available from :< http://biochar.pbworks. [online].com/topic/wood- properties> [Accessed 2010 October 13] 11. Answers Corporation. New Energy and Fuel (2010): Torrefaction – A New Process In Biomass and Biofuels[online].wisegeek. Available from :< http://www.The Engineering Toolbox. Efunda (2010) Thermocouples Theory [online].8.com/what-is-refractory-brick.answers. Available from :< http://www. PBWORKS: Welcome to a Gardening with Biochar FAQ! [online].com/material/wood/> [Accessed 2010 October 13] 10.

Samy Sadaka and A. Spiritus-temporis (2005) Thermocouple [online] Available from <http://www. The engineering toolbox (2009) Resources.edu> [Accessed 2010 November 8] 17. Gefran (2006) Thermal technologies [online] Available [Accessed from 2010 <http://www.Madabout from: Available <http://www.html> October 20] 18.html>[Accessed 2010 November 4] 115 .com/thermocouples-d_496.com/en/tecnologies/tecnology.[online].omega.Fibreglass usage and properties.uaex. United States Department of Agriculture and County Governments Cooperating.html> [Accessed 2010 October 20] 20. University of Arkansas.com/thermocouple.spiritus-temporis.15. Available from :< http://www.com/article/fibreglass/fiberglass/plastic/grp/sil ica>. (2010).html>[Accessed 2010 October17] 19.madaboutkitcars.com/principle-of-operation. [online].FSA1052.engineeringtoolbox.com. Wikipedia kitcars. [Accessed 2010 November 10] 16. Tools and Basic Information for Engineering and Design of Technical Applications [online] Available from <http://www.gefran.A Boateng (2009): Pyrolysis and Bio-Oil . Omega engineering technical reference (2010) Thermocouple [online] Available from<http:// www.

UK 26. Earth scan publications. Keller (2002). UK Biochar Research Centre.> [Accessed 2010 November 2] 22.thomasnet . Johannes. Brownsort. Winfried E.W (2004) Modeling the pyrolysis process of biomass particles PhD Thesis Eindhoven University of Technology 25. (UKBRC). Biochar For Environmental Management.L and Stephen. Lerch. M. 24. Blum. Wenceslau G. control and variability.J. M. Wolfgang Z. 275 -291.com/articles/calibrating thermocouples. Long term effects of manure.V. H. Van de Weerdhof. Jeferson L. Lehmann. B.21. pp.Thermocouple Calibration and Accuracy in a Materials Testing Laboratory. J. [online] Available from <http:// www. Nehls T. P. charcoal and mineral fertilization on crop production and fertility on a highly weathered Central Amazonian upland soil. Christoph. Nathal and D. Connecting industry ThomasNet(2009) Instruments and control-calibrating thermocouples.A (2009). Steiner. Vasconcelos de Macêdo. Teixeira. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Glenn Research Center 23. 116 .A. J (2009). Biomass Pyrolysis Process: Review of scope.

6.3 APPENDICES Appendix A: Some Plants Nutrients Major Nutrients Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium Calcium Magnesium Sulfur Sodium Symbols N P K C Mg S Na

Minor Nutrients Boron Copper Iron Chlorine

Symbols B Cu Fe Cl

117

Manganese Molybdenum Zinc

Mn Mo Zn

Appendix B: Biochar type versus Yield

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 29.9 27.08 26.09 42 40

45.38

15.78

16.67

1.42

0

118

Appendix C: pH of some Biochar samples

12 10 7.35 8 6 4 2 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 6.25 5.45

11.35 10.15

Odum sawdust

Wawa sawdust

Appendix D: Composition of some major nutrients in Biochar samples a. Amount of Sodium (g) in some Biochar samples

6.7 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 2.68 2.68 2.76 6.28

119

36 2038.09 40.58 24.09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.b.82 2202.49 17. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945.17 1851.7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c. Amount of Calcium (g) in some Biochar samples 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 19.49 19.3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 .

45 164.24 77.54 5.33 1.d.91 2.61 13. Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.07 Wawa sawdust e.62 52.68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .

02 11.41 Wawa sawdust 122 .f.16 61.67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4. Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.31 7.

123 .Appendix E: Display of temperature distribution in the biochar reactor over a 48 hour : period.

124 .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful