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.......2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings............2 2..1 2..............................................1...................................1 BIOCHAR.............................................................2.....................1.....................................0 LITERATURE REVIEW 2........TABLE OF CONTENT CHAPTER ONE 1.......................................2.................. 2............................ CHAPTER TWO 2..............1 Biomass..................1................ 1........1 Chemical Composition of Biomass............ Chemical Composition........................... 2....................3 2. 2... Types of Biochar......1.................1...................................................................1............................................. Importance of Biochar... 1..2..............4 History of Biochar.....1.........................................2 RAW MATERIALS 2.1..1...................... 2.................................................... 18 19 20 23 ....................2 Specific Objectives.......................................................................1 General Objectives........................................... 7 8 9 10 10 17 PAGE 1 6 6 2..... 2........................................1 Organic components ………………………………………………....0 INTRODUCTION.............5 Limitations of Biochar Uses...........

..........3............. 2....... 2..............................3........... 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ....3....1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings.............1............2................................ 2......................................1 Principles of thermocouples......... 2........3..1..... 2... 2.................3.1..1..............2..3.......................4 Aging of Thermocouples.................1..3...1 Pyrolysis....... 2.1..............................................................................................1 Types of Pyrolyzers..3...1...... 2.......3.....2.... 2.....................3 Process Technology 2......3....1.......3...........3.2..... 2........................3..........5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples..................3....3..............................6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple...............2 Pyrolysis Process Types........ 2..3 Processes of Pyrolysis........1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2......3.........................2 Chemical Reactor......3.. 2..........................3.....................1 History of Pyrolysis.....2...2.......7 Calibrating Thermocouples……………………………………............ 2....3....1 Thermocouples.......3 Operation of thermocouples..................................3......3........1..3.........................................................1....................... 2....................1.3..............................1...............3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2...2 Types of thermocouples.

.....2 REACTOR OPERATIONS 3.........3......................84 .1....78 3...........................................................1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3...............1 HEATING OF REACTOR.............................2...................4..............................................4.............. 2........................................1......1 Biomass Collection..................... 77 3................ 2..........2.3........... 75 3.......... 61 63 68 69 70 71 2........................3.2 Drying................4 Moisture Content Determination.....................................................................................................................4 Compost.......................................................................4 Block diagram of process....2 Refractory Brick...........................................................................................................................3 CHARGING OF THE REACTOR................................1 Types of compost.......3 Determination of pH....... 75 3............................3.. 2........................1...3 Fibre Glass.......................................................... 72 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY 3...............2 Materials used for making compost...................................................2 BIOMASS WEIGHING.............................. 2......................2................. 2...........................................82 3............................. 83 3........4..................1.................3.....................2.................................................3 Uses of compost....................................

2 TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION……………………………………………….............………………… 109 CHAPTER SIX 6...3 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT........ 86 3..................................88 CHAPTER FOUR 4.............................................................112 6..........2 RECOMMENDATION....4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR............1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED........................2..........101 5..................1 CONCLUSION.............5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR....................................................113 .......................................2....................3......................101 5...........................108 5...1 THE pH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL...............................2 4.3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES)………................................111 6.............1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.0 DISCUSSION...................89 4.............3 REFERENCE................93 CHAPTER FIVE 5...................................................................................................................................................................................................0 RESULTS 4........90 4...................................

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

... Waste management in Ayiom..............................5 4............................. Manipulated carbon cycle........................... Moisture content and pH of various raw materials............................1 4............... 2010’s of Daily Graphic. Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types............................... PAGE 3 4 5 9 15 16 ....4 2.....3 2....................................................... A comparison of soils in the Tropics and that in the Amazons…… Simple carbon cycle............. Seebeck’s coefficients for some materials...................................6 4.4 4........... PAGE 27 35 48 55 66 89 90 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials.......... Summary of thermocouple types.................................................. Summary of the various types of pyrolysis........ A typical dump site near a household at Ayiom....................2 2............. 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....... Temperature readings during pyrolysis of wood shavings.................................................................................................3 4......................................5 4............................................................. Yield and pH of Biochar............7 TITLE Mechanical and physical properties of some selected wood species... Properties of E and G –types fibre glass............. A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings....................LIST OF TABLES TABLE 2.............. 92 Temperature readings during pyrolysis of wawa saw dust.............1 2..2 4..

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

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

The process creates a fine-grained. [Kofi Yeboah (October 2nd 2010). Through biochar. Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. This technology is one of the few that is relatively inexpensive.CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Agriculture is a very important sector in the Ghanaian economy. highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.795 metric tons of fertilizers. Daily Graphic]. improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards. covering 72. boost food security and discourage deforestation. biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs. The government spends a lot of money to import fertilizer in to the country. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource.000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon. widely applicable and quickly scalable. under a fertilizer subsidy programme and has an annual import bill on fertilizer estimated at more than $50 million now. In an attempt to find a solution to this problem. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta). Biochar is a 2. has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer. 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. some concerned citizens in the country have come out with a technology known as biochar. It spent over GH¢ 20 million in 2008. 1 . it has become incumbent on researchers and some concerned literates in the country to provide strategies to combat this problem.Considering the amount spent on fertilizer importation.

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. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource.Biochar provides a unique opportunity to improve soil fertility and nutrient-use efficiency using locally available and renewable materials in a sustainable way. 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. Through biochar. . 2 . Biochar has unique properties that make it not only a valuable soil amendment to sustainably increase soil health and productivity. 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.

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

The biochar will then be added to the compost and then supplied to the community for use on their farms. Fig 1-2 A typical dump site near a household at Ayiom 4 . The waste will then be used as compost. 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. 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 second part of this project is the use of house hold waste to produce compost.

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

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

CHAPTER TWO 2.Hence the name ‘biochar’. 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 . As a soil amendment.0 LITERATURE REVIEW Biochar.The new frontier inspired by the fascinating properties of Terra Preta de Indio. While "discovered" may not be the right word.or no-oxygen environment. serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks. biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative. in the context of agricultural application sometimes called agrichar or agric-char. as biochar or bio-char (also called charcoal or biomass-derived black carbon.1. 2. BIOCHAR Biochar is just charcoal made from biomass (which is plant material and agricultural waste). biochar was identified as a soil amendment that has the potential to revolutionize concepts of soil management. It is a fine-grained charcoal produced from pyrolysis: the slow burning of organic matter in a low. 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. 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.

in areas where soils are generally acidic. suggesting that humans are responsible for its creation. Similar to slash-and-burn techniques. such as plant and animal remains (manure. but the origins of the concept are ancient. the smouldering char eventually forms terra preta.1. What has not been confirmed is how terra preta was created so many years ago. 8 . slash-and-char involves clearing vegetation within a small plot and igniting it. A frontrunner is the suggestion that ancient techniques of slash-andchar are responsible for the dark earth. It is from these hypotheses of early slash-and-char practices that modern scientists have developed methods for producing biochar. Terra preta’s productivity is due to good nutrient retention and a neutral pH. Combined with other biomass and buried under a layer of dirt. Analyses of the dark soils have revealed high concentrations of charcoal and organic matter.1History of Biochar The term ‘biochar’ was coined in recent times. but only allowing the refuse to smoulder (rather than burn). bones and fish).2. Throughout the Amazon Basin there are regions—up to two metres in depth—of terra preta. Many theories exist. Interestingly. This is a highly fertile dark-coloured soil that has for centuries supported the agricultural needs of the Amazonians. terra preta exists only in inhabited areas.

2 Chemical Composition Biochar mostly is made up of carbon and hydrogen. 9 .1. 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. The carbon left in the biochar may be about 40% of the total carbon in the material used.Fig 2-1 A comparison of soils in the tropics and that in the amazons 2.

A wood based biochar. 10 . 2.1. depending on its ultimate use. Hence the raw material used determines the type of biochar.2.1 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. Higher firing temperatures will result in a greater amount of micro porosity and adsorptive capacity. The type of biochar varies with biomass type.1. thereby delaying or completely preventing the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas.4. in many cases rice. As an example. therefore a better potential for adsorption of toxic substances and soil rehabilitation. the biochar may retain the carbon.1. The benefits of biochar go beyond this. 2. Biochar is rich in carbon and. wood or bark has been used and production parameters.3 Types of Biochar Not all biochar is the same. on the other hand. biochar made from manure will have a greater nutrient content than that formed from wood chips.4 Importance of Biochar Biochar has been popularized by its potential role in climate change mitigation. however. extending to the agricultural sector and to various types of waste management. such as the rate of pyrolysis and kiln size. will remain more stable for a longer time.

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 K Increased soil microbial respiration Increased soil microbial biomass Stimulated symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes Increased arbuscular mycorrhyzal fungi Increased cation exchange capacity 11 . Mg. P.

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

emissions by land use change can be off-set annually in soil. The syngas and bio-oils that result from the biochar production process. When plants grow they utilize sunlight. This accumulated organic matter is returned to the atmosphere by decomposition of dead plant tissue or disturbances. such as fire. in which 13 . or as fuel. if slash-and-burn is replaced by slash-and-char’. 2. These other activities are the waste disposal process described above and any recycling process. Not only does this represent a renewable energy alternative but it also improves the energy efficiency of the pyrolysis process. Both can be sources of greenhouse gas emissions. If it proves practicable to replace traditional slash-and-burn practices with slash-and-char methods. and the generated heat.1. 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’.3 MANIPULATING THE CARBON CYCLE Carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and stored in organic matter. At the same time. either as carbon dioxide from transport and processing. biochar may present a real quantifiable and verifiable option for storing carbon in the long term. or methane from landfill sites. CO2. can be used either to produce electricity. the pyrolysis process also produces viable forms of renewable energy. Moreover. Finally. it has the potential to reduce emissions from other activities that might need to take place in the absence of the biochar option. and water (H2O) to synthesize organic matter and release oxygen (O2).4.

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

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

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

the amount of bark and the woods geographical origin. 2. physical and biological properties. The chemical composition depends on many characteristics like the wood species. both directly harvested and waste products from other processes. Both groups have different chemical.2. Industries are typically more selective when they define biomass to mean only that which is useful to their particular type of business. Usually there are two groups of wood distinguished.reabsorb. These include wood. and more. hard. grains. Different substances meet the definition of biomass. grasses.1. oils produced from trees or vegetables.and softwood. but within these groups also large variations are possible Figure 2-4 Hardwood fibre structure Figure2-5 Soft wood structure 19 . household garbage.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 next sections describe the three groups in more detail. This temperature depends on the presence of side groups and branches along the chains. The proportions of these groups depend on the type of wood.1.000 resulting in a high anisotropic material with a strong crystalline structure. 20 . cellulose. Cellulose consists of long polymers built with a C6-monomer as base structure. During pyrolysis the polymer chains can be broken down into smaller polymers.2.2. The other 5 to 10% consists of mineral matter and a few other organic compounds. This structure is the same for both hard and softwood. Thermal degradation of cellulose normally starts around 350 °C. Cellulose Cellulose is the main component of woody biomass.1 Organic components The numerous different polymers present in the organic fraction of the fuel are generally divided in three main groups. Together these three groups from 90 to 95% of wood. but normally mass fractions range from 40 to 50% for cellulose. but also in gas species that are much smaller than one monomer. The cellulose chains can reach polymerization grades up to 10. from 15 to 25% for hemicellulose and between 20 and 30% for lignin. hemicellulose and lignin.1.

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

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

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

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

as was once done by hobbyists seeking to save some expense on activated charcoal.1. permeability. 25 .2. These impacts on the ecology have called for the increased use of sawdust in Biochar technology. The individual consistencies and colours are the elements remaining of about 12%. These substances make up the fibrous and woody cell walls of plants and trees and are held together by cementing properties.use sawdust within home aquariums. Those types of things remain in the tree and. When attempting to complete a wood project you must be careful of your choice of wood. as the tree decays. All are composed of 60% cellulose and 28% lignin. Numerous species take on different characteristics. they cause toxicity and are toxic to a broad range of organisms. 2.2. But when sawyers are processing a large volume of wood and large concentrations of these materials get out into the runoff. but can leach into water and poison wildlife.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. But of larger concern are substances such as lignin and fatty acids that protect trees from predators while they are alive. Other characteristics are due to the way that the wood is sawed and cured. shrinkage. density. they slowly get broken down. The physical properties (other than appearance) are moisture content. and thermal and electrical properties.

the direction of flow (radial. 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. Density can vary widely across a growth or annual ring. 26 . 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. and by the chemical and physical properties of the fluid. by whether the wood is sapwood or heartwood. The percentage of early wood and latewood in each growth ring determines the overall density of a wood sample. 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. Normal inuse moisture content of processed wood that has been dried ranges 8–13%. and longitudinal). Permeability is influenced by the anatomy of the wood cells. tangential. Moisture content for wood is expressed on either a fractional or percentage basis.Moisture content is a major factor in the processing of wood because it influences all physical and mechanical properties. Above that point. and durability and performance during use. Wood shrinks significantly more in the radial and tangential directions than in the longitudinal direction. 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. wood is dimensionally stable. Shrinkage occurs when wood loses moisture below the fibre saturation point.

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

31 0 – 490 1 – 1.Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.6 .0.6 Unit W/m.0.19 .6 – 40 0.38 0 – 630 0. Teak Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage Value 0.14 .0.3 e-6/K W/m.K kg/m3 % B.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.C. 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 .

30 . shortened to syngas. The gas product is termed synthesis gas. 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.3. Char contains varying carbon content. sometimes as a single aqueous phase. biochar. hydrogen and twocarbon hydrocarbons in varying proportions. 1995). carbon monoxide. Some is ‘fixed-carbon’ in terms of its proximate analysis. The solid. termed variously as char. charcoal or coke. sometimes phase-separated. Organic liquid product is generally hydrophilic containing many oxygenated compounds and is present. is generally of high carbon content and may contain around half the total carbon of the original organic matter. It is generally composed of carbon dioxide. typically ranging 60-90% (Gaur and Reed.1 Pyrolysis Pyrolysis is a thermo chemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (Demirbas and Arin. The term char is used generally to describe the solid product of pyrolysis.2.3 PROCESS TECHNOLGY 2. methane. charcoal will be used for more traditional processes with wood as feedstock. together with water produced in the pyrolysis reaction or remaining from the feedstock (Demirbas and Arin. 2002). Liquid products from biomass pyrolysis are frequently termed bio-oil. some present in a remaining volatile portion. inorganic material in char is termed ash. 2002).

3. such as flavorings. Prior to the development of petrochemicals. compounds for industrial and medicinal uses. Pyrolysis and gasification processes have .Fig 2-9 Pyrolysis Flow chart 2.1 History of pyrolysis. proces been used to extract liquid and gas products from coal since Victorian times and the 31 .1. Mankind has used pyrolysis and related processes for thousands of years. are still produced by wood pyrolysis.000 years ago. some high value liquid products. or ‘wood distillation’. was a source of many valuable organic trochemicals. pyrolysis. The earliest known example is the production of charcoal (a fuel for cooking and cave drawings by Croa Magnon man) some 38. In the Bronze Age intentionally produced charcoal was used for smelting metals and charcoal is still heavily used in metallurgy today. For thousands of years charcoal has been a preferred cooking fuel.

2009). fluidized beds. 2. There are a number of different reactors configurations that can achieve this including ablative systems.3. The resulting soils have long-lasting fertility that has been related to the stability of carbon in the soil (Lehmann et al. Char has also been used in agriculture for thousands of years. A moderate (in pyrolysis terms) temperature of around 500°C is usually used. They are fast pyrolysis and slow pyrolysis. or biochar. Development of fast pyrolysis progressed rapidly following 32 . 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 fertile terra preta (dark earth) soils of the Amazonian region result from incorporation of char into otherwise poor soils. 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. 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.1. Fast Pyrolysis Fast pyrolysis is characterized by high heating rates and short vapor residence times. there may be other technologies. stirred or moving beds and vacuum pyrolysis systems. In addition to the two.technology for producing a synthetic crude oil from coal is well established. Introduced briefly below are the two main types and a number of other related technologies. the technologies are still relatively undeveloped.2 Pyrolysis Process Types There are two main classes of process for biomass pyrolysis.

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

Higher temperatures and shorter residence times than fast pyrolysis are used. When used for biomass it has performance similar to slow pyrolysis techniques. the main product distributions are similar to fast pyrolysis. 2009). 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 term ‘intermediate pyrolysis’ has been used to describe biomass pyrolysis in a certain type of commercial screw-pyrolyzer – the Haloclean reactor. Flash carbonization is a different process involving partial combustion of a packed bed of biomass in a pressurized reactor with a controlled air supply. 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. although somewhat quicker. 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. The technology is currently being commercialized by Carbon Diversion Incorporated (CDI. A high yield of char and gas are reported with no liquid product formed under the reaction conditions. 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 . there is as yet little commercial use with biomass in biochar production. usually in the context of laboratory studies involving rapid movement of substrate through a heated tube under gravity or in a gas flow.these technologies have well-established commercial applications.

The process may be suitable for concentration of carbon from wet waste streams that would otherwise require drying before pyrolysis. Table 2. making it complementary to pyrolysis and a potential alternative to anaerobic digestion for treatment of some wastes. 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.2 Summary of The Various Types Of Pyrolysis. Liquid Process (bio-oil) Slow pyrolysis • Solid (biochar) Gas (syngas) Long residence times 30% 35% 35% (70% water) • Low-moderate reactor temperature 35 . Under acidic conditions with catalysis by iron salts the reaction temperature may be as low as 200°.combustible syngas with some char. Although designed to produce gas. under some conditions gasifiers can produce reasonable yields of char and have been proposed as an alternative production route to pyrolysis for biochar.

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 .

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

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

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

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

The syngas (a medium Btu gas) may be burned to provide necessary heat to the reactor. 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). Prior to recycling the syngas and residual bio-oil. Fig 2-10 Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzer 41 . Small feedstock particle sizes are needed (< 2-3 mm) to ensure that the high heat rate requirement is fulfilled. aerosol droplets may be further scrubbed in an electrostatic precipitator to remove finer particulates and aerosols. and the non-condensable gas (syngas) may be recycled or used as a fuel to heat the reactor. 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.scrubbed gases. The condensed bio-oil is collected and stored.

they have higher processing capacity. Fig 2-11 Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers 42 . The heat supply typically comes from a secondary char combustor.2. However. Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Circulating fluidized bed pyrolyzers are similar to bubbling fluidized bed reactors but have shorter residence times for chars and vapours. better gas-solid contact and improved ability to handle solids that are more difficult to fluidize but are less commonly used. 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.

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

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

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

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.3. whilst the other end is attached to a probe.1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples. either by a microprocessor or by analogue means.In most applications. In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms. 2.3. For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range.1. 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). the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures. non-linearity must be corrected. 46 . To achieve accurate measurements some type of linearization must be carried out. one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature.

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

2. high use. 30%Rh Pt. K etc. Table 2.3. 48 . purpose. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required. 0. e.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range. 10%Cr Cu.5% B Pt.3. usually referred to by a letter. 3%Re W. 45%Ni 0.1. Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others. 26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W.5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use.g. 5%Re W. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures. Very 1% C** W.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals. J.

75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1.2°C 1300 0. 45%Ni 1.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete .75% M** Ni Ni. 14%Cr 4.not for new designs 0. K* Ni.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni. 18%Mo 2.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use. Ni.1. 1% G** W W. N* 1. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type. 10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0.75% 2.5%Si 0. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature.75% J Fe Cu. 1%Si 0.2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.5%Si 2.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 . 45%Ni 2.1%Mg (0 to 200) Type. reducing environment General purpose 0.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni.4% L** Fe Cu.

U** Cu Cu. 0.5°C new designs 0.75% T* Cu Cu. 45%Ni 1.not for to or -270 to 400 temperature. Cr = Chromium. Mo = Molybdenum. W = Tungsten 50 . Similar to T type.5°C (0 to 50) temperature Good purpose.substitute for K & N types 0. Re = Rhenium. 10%Rh Pt 1. Mg = Magnesium.4% or 0 to 600 Obsolete . Pt = Platinum. Rh = Rhodium. Materials codes: Al = Aluminium. Ni = Nickel.5°C 0.25% R Pt. 13%Rh Pt 1.0°C (-60 to 100) tolerant moisture. Si = Silicon. high or -50 to 1768 Precision. 45%Ni 1. general low (0 to 50) temperature high or -50 to 1768 Precision. Cu = Copper.25% S Pt.

3. if the same material was used for the measurement. existing holes may determine probe diameter) 2. 51 .3.FACTOR THAT AFFECT THE CHOICE OF A THERMOCOUPLE Thermocouples measure wide temperature ranges and can be relatively rugged. 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.1. To measure this voltage. the voltage generated by the measuring conductor would simply cancel that of the first conductor. It is thus clear that. one must use a second conductor material which generates a different voltage under the same temperature gradient. thermocouples can only measure temperature differences and need a known reference temperature to yield the absolute readings. therefore they are very often used in industry. based on Seebeck's principle.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. Otherwise. The voltage difference generated by the two materials can then be measured and related to the corresponding temperature gradient.

There are three major effects involved in a thermocouple circuit: the Seebeck. and Thomson effects. 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 . Finally. This coefficient is usually a nonlinear function of temperature. Peltier effect describes the temperature difference generated by EMF and is the reverse of Seebeck effect. The Seebeck effect describes the voltage or electromotive force (EMF) induced by the temperature difference (gradient) along the wire. Peltier. The change in material EMF with respect to a change in temperature is called the Seebeck coefficient or thermoelectric sensitivity.

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

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

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

check the specifications of the probe insulation. If thermocouples with thin leads or long cables are needed. Lead Resistance. you must use the correct type of thermocouple extension wire (egg type K for type K thermocouples). Using any other type of wire will introduce a thermocouple junction. Another cause is impurities and chemicals from the insulation diffusing into the thermocouple wire. thermocouples are made of thin wire (in the case of platinum types cost is also a consideration). so it is prone to electrical noise pick up.25 mm diameter) will have a resistance of about 15 Ohms / meter. To minimize thermal shunting and improve response times. so has a lower resistance) to run between the thermocouple and measuring instrument. A typical exposed junction thermocouple with 32 AWG wire (0. The usual cause is the diffusion of atmospheric particles into the metal at the extremes of operating temperature. 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. 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. It is always a good precaution to measure the resistance of your thermocouple before use. Decalibration is the process of unintentionally altering the makeup of thermocouple wire. it is worth keeping the thermocouple leads short and then using thermocouple extension wire (which is much thicker. Noise: The output from a thermocouple is a small signal. If operating at high temperatures.thermocouple.

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. the TC-08 has a common mode input range of -4 V to +4 V. Thermal Shunting: All thermocouples have some mass. 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. Heating this mass takes energy so will affect the temperature you are trying to measure. (such as near a large motor) it is worthwhile considering using a screened extension cable.twisting the cable together to help ensure both wires pick up the same noise signal. the TC-08 uses an integrating analogue to digital converter which helps average out any remaining noise. Additionally. If there are any poor earth connections a few volts may exist between the pipe and the earth of the measuring instrument. Common Mode Voltage: Although thermocouple signal are very small. For example. and also by using insulated thermocouples. If noise pickup is suspected first switch off all suspect equipment and see if the reading changes. If the common mode voltage is greater than this then measurement errors will result. 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. Consider for example measuring the temperature of liquid in a test tube: there are two potential problems. Common mode voltages can be minimised using the same cabling precautions outlined for noise. If operating in an extremely noisy environment. A typical example of an 'earthed' junction would be measuring the temperature of a hot water pipe with a non insulated thermocouple.

thermal conduction may cause the thermocouple junction to be a different temperature to the liquid itself. a control temperature must be established that is stable and provides a constant temperature. it must be uniform and cover a large enough area that the thermocouple can adequately be inserted into it (such as an ice bath). thermocouples are standardized by using 0 degrees C as a reference point.dissipate to the atmosphere so reducing the temperature of the liquid around the wires. various types of measuring equipment. A similar problem can occur if the thermocouple is not sufficiently immersed in the liquid.1. 2.7 Calibrating Thermocouples In order to achieve accurate readings from a thermocouple. due to the cooler ambient air temperature on the wires. consideration must be paid to lead resistance. In the above example a thermocouple with thinner wires may help. The use of a thermocouple with thin wires connected to much thicker thermocouple extension wire often offers the best compromise. and many devices can adjust to compensate for the varying temperatures at thermocouple junctions. standards. and procedures must be in place. To calibrate a thermocouple. First.3. Sources of controlled temperatures are called fixed points.3. as it will cause a steeper gradient of temperature along the thermocouple wire at the junction between the liquid and ambient air. Typically. If thermocouples with thin wires are used. it’s essential to calibrate the device accordingly. A fixed point cell is composed of a metal 60 .

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

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

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

where it starts to degrade. most of the molecules can move about freely. used for example for glass staple fibres). The differences between them are their physical properties and compositions. (SiO2) n. but also Aglass (alkali-lime glass with little or no boron oxide).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. D-glass (borosilicate glass with high dielectric constant). it forms SiO4 groups that are configured as a tetrahedron with the silicon atom at the centre 64 . they will be unable to form an ordered structure. R-glass (alumino silicate glass without MgO and CaO with high mechanical requirements). has high acid resistance).000 °C (3. E-glass comes from calcium whereas S-glass is created with magnesium. mainly used for glass-reinforced plastics). E-CR-glass (alumino-lime silicate with less than 1 wt% alkali oxides.115 °F). If the glass is then cooled quickly. C-glass (alkali-lime glass with high boron oxide content. Sglass also has a higher tensile and compressive strength (the maximum stress it can take before breaking). It has no true melting point but softens at 2.630 °F). Properties of FIBRE GLASS The basis of textile-grade glass fibres is silica. In its pure form it exists as a polymer. In the polymer.713 °C (3. E-glass and S-glass. SiO2. At 1. and S-glass (alumino silicate glass without CaO but with high MgO content with high tensile strength).

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

translucent roofing panels. pole vault poles. GPa Tensile Modulus. automobile bodies. have similar properties in all directions. However a large surface area is not always a good idea as its performance can be severely impaired by contact with moisture and chemicals. hockey sticks. electrical insulation.5 4. Uses of Fibreglass: Uses for regular fibreglass include mats. high-strength fabrics. boat 66 .45 72. sound insulation. fibreglass products.9 S-glass 2490 4. tent poles. The picture shows the microstructure of a glass fibre. sound absorption. arrows.0 5. kg/m Tensile Strength.7 The high surface area to weight ratio make glass fibres useful in many situations.Table 2.6 85.and corrosion-resistant fabrics. because of the underlying amorphous structure. Whereas Kevlar’s weakness is that its strength is only along the fibre axis. heat. surfboards. GPa Elongation.5 Properties of E and G Types Fibre Glass Property Density.% E-glass 2580 3. reinforcement of various materials. They are often used in high stress situations because they can undergo a higher elongation than carbon fibres before breaking. thermal insulation. bows and crossbows.

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

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.

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

etc. and Industrial. Commercial. Compost fertilizer may also be used as part of a potting soil mix. preventing disease.When properly maintained. The completed compost should have a dark brown colour and smell earthy and musty like fresh soil. The bag will have holes in it so that air can enter and the beneficial microbes can breathe and be kept alive. which allows the nutrients in the compost to slowly release into the soil.4. 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.1 Types of Compost Compost can be broken into three basic types based on its quality and usage. Biological – This is the highest quality compost and therefore the most beneficial in improving soils. 70 . These are Biological. If the pile has a bad smell like garbage. It is often combined with existing soil. Compost fertilizer has several different applications. 2. making compost tea. compost fertilizer should be ready for use in approximately two to four weeks. This is the product that experienced gardeners often call black gold because it is so valuable to plants.

construction debris. It often contains fillers like sawdust and rice hulls which are chemically burned black from the industrial waste. It is often very black and sometimes will rub off in your hand.Commercial – This is a middle grade of compost made from sewage sludge. It is made from industrial wastes like boiler ash. Industrial – This is the lowest grade of products called compost. 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 . etc. It will be in a sealed bag and may have a sour or stale odour.2 Materials used for making compost Compost can be made from a number of materials: materials. 2. The better manure based composts may be found here.4.

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

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

74 . • 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. particularly by earthworms. Compost is of particular value as a soil amendment to improve drainage in that it works so well and is so easy to use. This helps to minimize the loss of soil moisture. Too thick a layer of compost as a mulch can create watering problems. • MULCH TO MINIMIZE LOSS OF SOIL MOISTURE: Compost acts like a sponge and retains moisture. The compost layer is eventually consumed by the soil organisms. 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. adding to the life of the soil. Soil organisms do better when temperature changes are gradual. • 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.slower. A layer of compost on the soil surface will catch and hold moisture that would otherwise evaporate from the soil. The flip side is that it also tends to catch and hold water that would otherwise enter to irrigate the soil.

ii.The saw dust was spread on a tarpaulin to dry. Source: Saw dust. 75 .0 METHODOLOGY 3.1.1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3.A sample of the saw dust was first collected and tested for its moisture content.CHAPTER THREE 3. Kumasi in the Ashanti region Ghana.1. Kaasi.1 Biomass Collection Raw Material used Saw dust.project site at FABI Rice Husk-Asuanse 3.2 Drying Procedure i. wood shavings and rice husk.AG Timbers. Wood shavings .

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

Fig 3-3 covered saw dust 3.1. 77 . with a pH close to 7. glass stiffing rod.0 at 25 °C (77 °F). glass beaker. The pH of the samples used and the char obtained were determined.0.standards used were pH of 4. Distilled water.3 Determination of pH pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. 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. Standard buffer solutions of known pH values . Pure water is said to be neutral. Apparatus and Materials pH meter.

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

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

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

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

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

temperature had been obtained. Fig 3-5 Heating of Reactor 3.2.2 BIOMASS WEIGHING Equipment/Apparatus: Shovel. Mass balance. At this point the heating material is completely burnt. The heating was allowed to take place until no smoke was observed flowing out of the chimney. 83 . Sack.

The sack containing the saw dust and wood shavings was then hanged on a mass balance and its mass recorded. The feed was then fed through the upper opening. iii.3 CHARGING OF THE REACTOR After the wood had been burnt completely and the desired temperature reached. 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 temperature within the reactor was periodically checked to monitor the process. ii. Fig 3-6 Weighing of saw dust 3.Procedure: i. 84 . the lower opening of the reactor was closed.2. and the opening tightly closed for the charring process to begin.

Fig 3-7 feeding of reactor 85 .

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

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

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

8 28.9 29.34 10.% 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 6.51 7.34 10.7 28.8 5.34 5.6 6.7 26.83 10.6 89 .7 27.01 6.84 10.83 10.0 RESULTS 4.59 7.6 5.1 pH and Moisture Content Of Various Raw Materials Moisture Raw Material pH Temperature . pH and moisture content analysis of raw material Mass of raw material= 0.1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.CHAPTER FOUR 4.o C Content.34 26.8 10.8 28.34 28.6 7.6 7.43 7.81 26.2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.

94 7.81 6.9 27 pH Temperature.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.92 90 .68 7.74 7.6 26.15 26.2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8.71 7.9 8. % Average Wood shavings 7.7 26.74 7.5 6.8 7.4 7.Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.56 7. o C Yield.58 26.81 26.59 7.7 29.88 29.74 4.1 29.94 29.82 7.17 8.

73 8.78 26.19 8.76 10.34 8.53 8.72 10.1 27.74 8.8 1.7 1.9 27.23 8.57 8.75 28.55 27.82 10.1 16.67 27.9 Not properly charred 26.5 15.42 8.41 8.42 10.3 91 .21 10.83 28.75 8.83 10.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 10.4 26.83 10.8 29.48 8.1 27.2 27.74 8.7 27.1 insignificant 27.

741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142.5 6. kg Ash(56.09 42 40 properly 1.67 29.78 16.5 7 6.Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.2 4.367 2.0 15.0 4.08 26.3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed.4 Odum A*.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 2.00 at 28. kg Obtained.9 27.% 92 .42 Biochar Yield. 39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.

2 361.7 359. C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4.4 T1 T2 T3 721.3 Temperature Measurement 4th February.8 93 .5 816.6 802. Level C o C o C 807.8 341.8 607. Temperature.5 571.8 562.Rice husk C 130 59 45.3 779. B. Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4.2 741. o C o Temperature.5 84.3 814.5 385.2 562.38 NB: A. Temperature.8 49.9 72. 2011.6 813.2 513.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts.3 769.

4 86.3 881. 3.1 93. C o Ti.4 233.9th February.3 97. C o Ts. C o Ts. 5.3 Ts .7 98.5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts . 4.8 145.3 87.9 880.oC (after Level Ti. T2. T6 are temperatures at levels 1. 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4.5 80.3 82.7 144.3 83.3 53. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti.2 77.7 968.3 201. oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161.3 790.6 670.1 92.5 68. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 .6 79.9 89. 2.9 70.1 52.7 101. T4. T5.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti.6 72.2 85.1 57.2 556.6 827.5 50. T3.2 64.2 55.6 126.temperature inside the reactor T1.

6 115.4 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 02:00 549.4 144.7 169.4 124.0 166.3 172.4 262.2 T2 620.8 T6 420.3 171.3 350.2 224.4 92.5 148.5 224.5 166.7 100.6 138.1 168.8 310.4.0 255.9 208.1 205.4 85.0 412.1 147.7 317.8 165.2 137.9 95 .0 180.6 185.4 185.4 83.4 T3 708.5 265.9 188.7 283.4 140.5 139.9 T4 516.6 318.9 T5 591.3 213.9 227.2 115.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.7 118.2 402.5 124.6 140.7 319.7 243.3 190.4 317.6 212.2 443.6 213.5 128.3 174.6 138.9 82.6 355.3 119.5 139.3 105.1 140.2 209.4 310.3 206.1 205.3100.9 198.7 261.44 128.2 192.1 115.7 97.8 134.

3 110.4 87.8 244.5 256.8 148.1 249.4 125.6 351.2 105.8 249.6 90.8 185.4 88.8 151.2 98.4 368.3 316.9 80.4 369.8 154.8 150.3 431.1 87.1 387.1 336.4 167.3 108.4 140.4 96 .8 150.7 157.6 93.6 154.6 133.3 140.5 212.2 135.1 113.5 254.7 321.0 153.9 110.7 153.7 144.9 265.1 166.8 92.9 371.7 108.7 251.7 324.4 349.03:00 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 18:00 153.0 186.9 120.4 112.6 86.4 422.2 183.5 144.5 254.2 123.4 92.5 318.4 161.9 149.3 141.9 79.8 402.8 110.3 230.2 253.8 127.3 104.3 163.2 407.6 111.4 417.5 99.4 344.8 250.5 158.9 219.6 265.0 322.0 84.6 146.4 107.8 405.6 152.7 357.8 152.5 88.3 174.4 408.8 119.7 358.

3 73.1 331.1 389.4 85.1 89.4 139.9 128.6 74.4 120.4 406.2 89.2 87.0 377.6 90.4 103.8 112.9 94.4 92.5 238.2 74.5 336.3 123.2 82.6 410.6 117.1 68.4 65.3 243.0 332.0 107.1 87.4 97 .1 71.2 362.5 86.4 251.4 128.5 112.3 104.8 95.6 64.4 136.7 107.7 258.1 122.5 117.3 330.7 100.3 134.5 373.3 102.7 221.9 139.7 93.1 96.2 332.4 410.9 115.2 88.4 65.5 338.6 364.2 112.5 111.6 80.4 427.4 139.5 241.9 382.8 106.4 78.1 398.7 377.2 114.19:00 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 10:00 132.3 374.2 125.2 109.9 91.1 239.8 225.3 55.9 96.8 408.4 75.1 127.2 76.0 423.4 132.2 77.1 65.4 411.3 114.9 92.5 381.3 103.9 413.

2 407.1 414.1 95.9 90.9 100.2 94.7 123.9 92.5 433.6 101.5 433.1 98 .5 374.3 125.2 101.7 98.1 355.5 380.3 96.8 365.7 98.3 379.9 96.7 99.1 96.2 386.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.7 120.2 211.3 98.1 125.

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

4.35 10.54 5.3 Mg 6.7 Ca 19.07 K 6.16 61.41 Na 2.7 NB: K.49 17.02 11. Mg.24 1.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.28 6.68 4.17 1851.09 1570.45 77.58 24.76 6.82 2202.09 40.61 13.68 2.36 2038.15 11. 100 .91 2.62 52.31 7.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.55 ppm K 1945.45 7. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar.68 2.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4.67 4.49 19. P.33 164.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.

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

2. Problems 1. 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. 102 . 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.

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

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

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

106 . Wawa and Teak and with this it took about two days to char. Yeboah. 25th March 2011).Fig 5-4 Biochar from wood shavings Wood Shavings D It is generally composed of Asanfra (Asanfena). 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. comm. Using 23kg of the wood shavings a yield of 26. This is because Asanfra is noted to be an oil bearing wood (Dr. The char obtained was oily.09% was obtained. E.

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

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

it is observed that the uppermost portion of the reactor (Fig. Major nutrients such as K. The major nutrients that are displayed in 109 . From table 4. Rain also has a heat loss effect on the process. Also. it can be deduced that wawa stain biochar contains more macronutrients compared to the rice husk. Temperatures within and outside the reactor rises as the surrounding atmosphere increases in temperature due to reduced or no heat loss from the reactor.3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES) The pH of the biochar has an influence on the availability of plant nutrients (major and minor).During charring. 3. During a 48 hour observation (appendix E) on the changes of temperature within the reactor during the process. 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. the high pH value obtained suggests that there was greater ash content compared to the other biochar samples. Ca and Na are needed in larger quantities by plants for proper growth and development. Temperature drops significantly during the night.7. 5. odum saw dust and wood shavings biochar. wawa sawdust was found to have a higher pH (basic) and thus can be inferred to provide more macronutrients when applied to the soil. P. 2. the following observations were made: 1. From the analysis (appendix C). T5.4-1). This is due to the accumulation of hot dense gases at that point within the reactor. T6 is hotter than the immediate lower portion. Major nutrients tend to be less available in soils with low pH (acidic) and less available in soils with high pH.

This suggests that they can be applied to soils which are more acidic to neutralize them.table 4.7 are found to be water soluble. 110 . The pHs of most of the biochar was found to be basic. Biochars from wawa saw dust and odum saw dust can thus be best applied to acidic soils. They dissolved in soil water and made available to plants for easy absorption and use.

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

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

University of (2007). [Online]. Conversion and Resource Evaluation Ltd: Biochar . Available from: <http://bioweb.au/privacy.html>. S. Wikipedia: Thermocouples [online].com. Parliament of Australia. Wikipedia (2010): Saw Dust.Last modified 2008 September 9].] Last modified 2008 November 15] 6. Control and Instrumentation. Sun Grant Initiative and the Tennesee. Samy Sadaka.aph.S.com: Thermocouple types [online]. S. Parliamentary library (2009): the basics of biochar [online].The Processes and Benefits [online].Available from :<http://www.gov. Available from:< http://www.org/General/Biopower/Technologies/Pyrolysis>[Acce sses2010 September 29. Available from :< http://bioweb.aadet.com/resources/thermocoupletypes.com/article/ > [Accessed 2010 October 9] 4. Pyrolysis [online].org/Technical/Biopower/Technologies/Pyrolysis/> [Accessed 2010 October 9. Samy Sadaka (edited by Marie Walsh).htm>[Accessed 2010 October 4] 3.com/article/sawdust . Sun Grant Initiative and the University of Tennesee.enviro-news. Available from: <http://www.[Accessed 2010 November 5] 2. Environmental Improvement Solutions.sungrant.aadet.S (2007) Pyrolysis [online].com/library/Wikipedia-cid-83243> October 9] 7. 5.6. Available from: http://www. [Accessed 2010 October 8] 113 [Accessed 2010 .sungrant.Available from: http://www.answers. Answers Corporation.3 REFERENCES 1.controlandinstrumentation.

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

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

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

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

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 19.58 24.09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.49 19.b.82 2202.49 17.3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 .17 1851.36 2038. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945.09 40.7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c.

07 Wawa sawdust e.68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .24 77.33 1.45 164.91 2.62 52.54 5.d.61 13. Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218.

41 Wawa sawdust 122 . Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.f.31 7.67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.02 11.16 61.

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

124 .