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.

....................................................1 Organic components ………………………………………………...........TABLE OF CONTENT CHAPTER ONE 1..................1.................1..2 RAW MATERIALS 2... 2.........1....................1 General Objectives........... 2........................................................................................2..............1...............................1....................................................5 Limitations of Biochar Uses...................... Chemical Composition.........2.. CHAPTER TWO 2.....................0 LITERATURE REVIEW 2... 18 19 20 23 .......1 Biomass.......................................3 2.................1 2.........................................2 Specific Objectives.... Importance of Biochar.........................0 INTRODUCTION........................................... Types of Biochar...............2.................1 Chemical Composition of Biomass...... 2.........1..................1.......................................................... 2............................................2...................... 1................1..........................................2 2.2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings........................ 1..................1....... 2............. 7 8 9 10 10 17 PAGE 1 6 6 2..........................................................4 History of Biochar........................................1 BIOCHAR.........

.........5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples.3..............2 Types of thermocouples........6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple.....................3......1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings... 2....4 Aging of Thermocouples.....................................1..1...............3..................3 Operation of thermocouples............... 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ... 2.....1................................... 2..1...............................3 Processes of Pyrolysis............. 2........... 2..............3.7 Calibrating Thermocouples…………………………………….......3........3.1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2...................2................3....2......1....1................1 Pyrolysis.. 2..............................3.......1 History of Pyrolysis..3.................. 2.. 2...................... 2.....1.......1..................2.................1 Principles of thermocouples............3..3............2 Pyrolysis Process Types............................3 Process Technology 2.......... 2.............................2 Chemical Reactor......2........3..3.......3...................3..2......3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2..............1.. 2.......................3.....1....................................3.....3.............1 Types of Pyrolyzers...........1 Thermocouples...................3...............2.....3.........................3.............................1...........................3.. 2.....1............................ 2........3.......... 2.........

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

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

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

.....2 4...................................4 2...............1 2.......... Temperature readings during pyrolysis of wood shavings................................. Yield and pH of Biochar..............5 4.... Moisture content and pH of various raw materials.1 4..............................................7 TITLE Mechanical and physical properties of some selected wood species........................6 4..... Properties of E and G –types fibre glass........ PAGE 27 35 48 55 66 89 90 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials... PAGE 3 4 5 9 15 16 ..................................................... Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types........................................... 93 94 95 100 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1-1 1-2 1-3 2-1 2-2 2-3 TITLE A section of the 2nd October........ Seebeck’s coefficients for some materials............ A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings.............................. 2010’s of Daily Graphic.............................................LIST OF TABLES TABLE 2...... A typical dump site near a household at Ayiom................3 4....................... 92 Temperature readings during pyrolysis of wawa saw dust............................... Summary of the various types of pyrolysis...........................5 4.2 2........................................................... Summary of thermocouple types..................................3 2.......... A comparison of soils in the Tropics and that in the Amazons…… Simple carbon cycle. Manipulated carbon cycle............................. Waste management in Ayiom.............4 4...........................

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

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

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

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

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

The second part of this project is the use of house hold waste to produce compost. 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 compost would then be combined with the biochar to further enrich its used as fertilizer. 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 pictures below show the improper ways of disposing of waste in the Ayiom community. The waste will then be used as compost.

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

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

biochar was identified as a soil amendment that has the potential to revolutionize concepts of soil management.1. 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. biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative. as biochar or bio-char (also called charcoal or biomass-derived black carbon. in the context of agricultural application sometimes called agrichar or agric-char. BIOCHAR Biochar is just charcoal made from biomass (which is plant material and agricultural waste). 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. It is a fine-grained charcoal produced from pyrolysis: the slow burning of organic matter in a low. While "discovered" may not be the right word. 2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW Biochar.or no-oxygen environment. 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 . serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks.The new frontier inspired by the fascinating properties of Terra Preta de Indio. As a soil amendment.CHAPTER TWO 2.Hence the name ‘biochar’.

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

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.1. The carbon left in the biochar may be about 40% of the total carbon in the material used.2 Chemical Composition Biochar mostly is made up of carbon and hydrogen. 9 .Fig 2-1 A comparison of soils in the tropics and that in the amazons 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. in many cases rice. on the other hand.3 Types of Biochar Not all biochar is the same. Hence the raw material used determines the type of biochar. As an example.4 Importance of Biochar Biochar has been popularized by its potential role in climate change mitigation.2. The benefits of biochar go beyond this.4.1. The type of biochar varies with biomass type. Higher firing temperatures will result in a greater amount of micro porosity and adsorptive capacity. 2. wood or bark has been used and production parameters. however. 2. therefore a better potential for adsorption of toxic substances and soil rehabilitation.1. depending on its ultimate use.1. Biochar is rich in carbon and. A wood based biochar. biochar made from manure will have a greater nutrient content than that formed from wood chips. the biochar may retain the carbon. thereby delaying or completely preventing the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas. 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. 10 .

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.

Biochar presents an attractive alternative if the economic costs can be kept below those of waste management. animal and crop waste can contaminate ground and surface waters. Some analysts have suggested that ‘up to 12% of the total anthropogenic [carbon] 12 . It has the capacity to do so in three ways: the storage of carbon over long periods. and the production of renewable energy. This compares to the 10 to 20 per cent that remains in biomass after 5 to 10 years of natural decay. 2.2 Climate Change Mitigation Biochar has been given a lot of attention recently as one means of addressing climate change. such as paper milling. and by operating at a temperature above 350˚C. and the less than 3 per cent that remains in ash after complete burning.A second benefit of biochar production to the agricultural sector (and some industries. around 50 per cent of the feedstock’s carbon content is retained in the biochar. but they can become costly.4. Waste management practices are aimed at preventing such contamination. Through the production process. can also be used. The pyrolysis process reduces the weight and volume of the feedstock. waste processing or recycling. By accepting organic material as its input. Green urban waste and waste from some industrial processes. Left to accumulate. it also removes potential pathogens that can be a problem if directly applied to soils. the biochar production process transforms waste into a resource. the reduction of greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be generated from waste disposal. such as the paper industry) is the fact that it uses organic waste.1.

or as fuel. or methane from landfill sites. These other activities are the waste disposal process described above and any recycling process. Moreover.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’. 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. CO2. can be used either to produce electricity. At the same time. When plants grow they utilize sunlight.4.emissions by land use change can be off-set annually in soil. it has the potential to reduce emissions from other activities that might need to take place in the absence of the biochar option. the pyrolysis process also produces viable forms of renewable energy. and the generated heat. in which 13 . Finally. 2. and water (H2O) to synthesize organic matter and release oxygen (O2). such as fire. if slash-and-burn is replaced by slash-and-char’. either as carbon dioxide from transport and processing. If it proves practicable to replace traditional slash-and-burn practices with slash-and-char methods.3 MANIPULATING THE CARBON CYCLE Carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and stored in organic matter. biochar may present a real quantifiable and verifiable option for storing carbon in the long term. This accumulated organic matter is returned to the atmosphere by decomposition of dead plant tissue or disturbances. The syngas and bio-oils that result from the biochar production process.

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

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.

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\ 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)

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

they cause toxicity and are toxic to a broad range of organisms. Numerous species take on different characteristics.2. These substances make up the fibrous and woody cell walls of plants and trees and are held together by cementing properties. 25 . All are composed of 60% cellulose and 28% lignin. but can leach into water and poison wildlife. 2. When attempting to complete a wood project you must be careful of your choice of wood. permeability. Other characteristics are due to the way that the wood is sawed and cured. they slowly get broken down.1.2. density. and thermal and electrical properties. But of larger concern are substances such as lignin and fatty acids that protect trees from predators while they are alive. But when sawyers are processing a large volume of wood and large concentrations of these materials get out into the runoff. Those types of things remain in the tree and.use sawdust within home aquariums. as was once done by hobbyists seeking to save some expense on activated charcoal. shrinkage. The individual consistencies and colours are the elements remaining of about 12%.1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings The properties of sawdust which makes it susceptible for charring are dependent on the type of wood from which it was obtained. The physical properties (other than appearance) are moisture content. as the tree decays. These impacts on the ecology have called for the increased use of sawdust in Biochar technology.

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

is an integral step.5 36 – 126 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 27 . specific heat. the dominant heating direction is transverse.5 – 101 36 . The conductivity of wood is determined by density. For most processing operations. WOOD TYPES AND THEIR PROPERTIES Table 2. and coefficient of thermal expansion. Conductivity in the longitudinal direction is greater than in the transverse directions. Thermal conductivity is important to wood processing because heating— whether for drying. Specific heat of wood is dependent on moisture content and. African Mahogany Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Value Unit Value 0 – 10000 32.1 Mechanical and Physical Properties of Some Selected Wood Species A. curing. moisture content. Thermal conductivity in the transverse directions (radial and tangential) is approximately equal. and direction of conduction.58. pressing. to less extent.The primary thermal properties of wood are conductivity. on temperature. or conditioning.

19 .0.6 Unit W/m.31 0 – 490 1 – 1.K kg/m3 % Value 10500 – 15600 95 – 155 48 – 91 86 – 170 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 28 .14 . Teak Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage Value 0.0.0.Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.3 e-6/K W/m.K kg/m3 % B.38 0 – 630 0.6 – 40 0.6 .

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 .

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

Fig 2-9 Pyrolysis Flow chart 2. In the Bronze Age intentionally produced charcoal was used for smelting metals and charcoal is still heavily used in metallurgy today. Mankind has used pyrolysis and related processes for thousands of years. or ‘wood distillation’. compounds for industrial and medicinal uses.000 years ago. pyrolysis.1 History of pyrolysis. Prior to the development of petrochemicals. some high value liquid products. The earliest known example is the production of charcoal (a fuel for cooking and cave drawings by Croa Magnon man) some 38. are still produced by wood pyrolysis.3.1. was a source of many valuable organic trochemicals. For thousands of years charcoal has been a preferred cooking fuel. proces been used to extract liquid and gas products from coal since Victorian times and the 31 . Pyrolysis and gasification processes have . such as flavorings.

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

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

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

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. The process may be suitable for concentration of carbon from wet waste streams that would otherwise require drying before pyrolysis. Although designed to produce gas. making it complementary to pyrolysis and a potential alternative to anaerobic digestion for treatment of some wastes. under some conditions gasifiers can produce reasonable yields of char and have been proposed as an alternative production route to pyrolysis for biochar. Under acidic conditions with catalysis by iron salts the reaction temperature may be as low as 200°. Table 2.2 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 .combustible syngas with some char.

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 .

The time required to pyrolyze biomass resources is controlled by the rate of pyrolysis of lignin under operating conditions. CO2. Decomposition of lignin occurs between 280°C and 37 . Lignin is a highly linked. amorphous. This heterogeneity creates variability in the yields of pyrolysis products. and the pyrolysis of cellulose is complete. C1 . tar yields drop.C4) is negligible below 500°C but increases substantially at high temperatures. but the percent of each compound differs significantly among biomass resources. Cellulose is converted to char and gases (CO. H2O) at low temperatures (< 300oC). and to volatile compounds (tar and organic liquids.. All biomass resources are composed primarily of cellulose (typically 30 to 40 percent of dry weight). and no levoglucosan. gas yields increase. hemicelluloses (25 to 30 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. predominantly levoglucosan) at high temperatures (> 300oC). At temperatures above 600°C.e. high molecular weight phenolic compound which serves as cement between plant cells and is the least reactive component of biomass. and lignin (12 to 30 percent of dry weight). Hemicellulose is the most reactive component of biomass and decomposes between 200 and 260oC.3 Processes of Pyrolysis The pyrolysis of biomass. The yield of light hydrocarbons (i.2.1.3. Hemicelluloses produce more gases and less tar than cellulose. They also produce more methanol and acetic acid than cellulose.

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

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

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

Small feedstock particle sizes are needed (< 2-3 mm) to ensure that the high heat rate requirement is fulfilled. Prior to recycling the syngas and residual bio-oil. aerosol droplets may be further scrubbed in an electrostatic precipitator to remove finer particulates and aerosols. The syngas (a medium Btu gas) may be burned to provide necessary heat to the reactor.scrubbed gases. The particle heating rate is the major factor limiting the rate of the pyrolysis reaction. Fig 2-10 Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzer 41 . The condensed bio-oil is collected and stored. 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). High liquid yields (about 60 percent weight of biomass on a dry basis) can be typically recovered. and the non-condensable gas (syngas) may be recycled or used as a fuel to heat the reactor.

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

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

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

joined together at one end. 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 . Thermocouples make use of this so-called Peltier-Seebeck effect. It is important to appreciate that thermocouples measure the temperature difference between two points. an Estonian physicist named Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered that when any conductor (such as a metal) is subjected to a thermal gradient.1Thermocouple A thermocouple is a sensor for measuring temperature. When the junction of the two metals is heated or cooled a voltage is produced that can be correlated back to the temperature.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. It consists of two dissimilar metals. 2. refractory brick and refractory mortar.3. Thermocouples produce an output voltage which depends on the temperature difference between the junctions of two dissimilar metal wires. fibre glass.3 TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT In the production of biochar temperature control and measurement is paramount. not absolute temperature.2.3.3. In 1822. The temperature regulation materials may include thermocouple. 45 .

non-linearity must be corrected. either by a microprocessor or by analogue means. 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).3. one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature. In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms. To achieve accurate measurements some type of linearization must be carried out. 46 .1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples.1. the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures. whilst the other end is attached to a probe.3. For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range.In most applications. 2. 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.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. the emf generated when the junctions are at T1 and T3 will be emf1 + emf2 47 . Law of homogeneous material A thermoelectric current cannot be sustained in a circuit of a single homogeneous material by the application of heat alone. provided all wires are made of the same materials as the thermocouple. In other words. 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. 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. regardless of how it might vary in cross section. there will be no net voltage generated by the new metal.

26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required.1. high use. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni. 48 .5% B Pt. K etc.g. 3%Re W. usually referred to by a letter.5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use. 30%Rh Pt.3.3.2. Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others. Table 2. Very 1% C** W. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures. 5%Re W. purpose. 10%Cr Cu. 45%Ni 0. e. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range. J. 0.

N* 1. 14%Cr 4. Ni.75% 2.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use. 45%Ni 1.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni. 10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type.1. 18%Mo 2.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete .2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.2°C 1300 0.5%Si 2.1%Mg (0 to 200) Type. 45%Ni 2.5%Si 0. K* Ni.75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1. 1%Si 0.4% L** Fe Cu. 1% G** W W. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature.75% M** Ni Ni.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni. reducing environment General purpose 0.75% J Fe Cu.not for new designs 0.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 .

0. Re = Rhenium. Mo = Molybdenum. Cr = Chromium.5°C new designs 0. Cu = Copper. 10%Rh Pt 1. Ni = Nickel. 13%Rh Pt 1. Si = Silicon. Rh = Rhodium. Materials codes: Al = Aluminium. W = Tungsten 50 .4% or 0 to 600 Obsolete .25% R Pt. U** Cu Cu.5°C (0 to 50) temperature Good purpose.5°C 0. Mg = Magnesium.25% S Pt.not for to or -270 to 400 temperature. Similar to T type. high or -50 to 1768 Precision.0°C (-60 to 100) tolerant moisture. 45%Ni 1.substitute for K & N types 0. Pt = Platinum. 45%Ni 1.75% T* Cu Cu. general low (0 to 50) temperature high or -50 to 1768 Precision.

therefore they are very often used in industry. thermocouples can only measure temperature differences and need a known reference temperature to yield the absolute readings. To measure this voltage. Otherwise.3.3 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. It is thus clear that. one must use a second conductor material which generates a different voltage under the same temperature gradient.FACTOR THAT AFFECT THE CHOICE OF A THERMOCOUPLE Thermocouples measure wide temperature ranges and can be relatively rugged.3. the voltage generated by the measuring conductor would simply cancel that of the first conductor. 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. 51 . existing holes may determine probe diameter) 2.1. based on Seebeck's principle. if the same material was used for the measurement. The voltage difference generated by the two materials can then be measured and related to the corresponding temperature gradient.

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

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

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

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

A typical exposed junction thermocouple with 32 AWG wire (0.25 mm diameter) will have a resistance of about 15 Ohms / meter. If thermocouples with thin leads or long cables are needed. so it is prone to electrical noise pick up. The usual cause is the diffusion of atmospheric particles into the metal at the extremes of operating temperature. Noise: The output from a thermocouple is a small signal.thermocouple. Lead Resistance. Decalibration is the process of unintentionally altering the makeup of thermocouple wire. 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 . so has a lower resistance) to run between the thermocouple and measuring instrument. If operating at high temperatures. Using any other type of wire will introduce a thermocouple junction. it is worth keeping the thermocouple leads short and then using thermocouple extension wire (which is much thicker. Any connectors used must be made of the correct thermocouple material and correct polarity must be observed. Another cause is impurities and chemicals from the insulation diffusing into the thermocouple wire. check the specifications of the probe insulation. 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. thermocouples are made of thin wire (in the case of platinum types cost is also a consideration). It is always a good precaution to measure the resistance of your thermocouple before use. To minimize thermal shunting and improve response times. you must use the correct type of thermocouple extension wire (egg type K for type K thermocouples).

If the common mode voltage is greater than this then measurement errors will result. 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. (such as near a large motor) it is worthwhile considering using a screened extension cable. 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. and also by using insulated thermocouples. the TC-08 has a common mode input range of -4 V to +4 V. If noise pickup is suspected first switch off all suspect equipment and see if the reading changes. the TC-08 uses an integrating analogue to digital converter which helps average out any remaining noise. For example. Common Mode Voltage: Although thermocouple signal are very small. Additionally. If operating in an extremely noisy environment. Heating this mass takes energy so will affect the temperature you are trying to measure. much larger voltages often exist at the input to the measuring instrument. The first is that heat energy will travel up the thermocouple wire and 59 . Common mode voltages can be minimised using the same cabling precautions outlined for noise. Consider for example measuring the temperature of liquid in a test tube: there are two potential problems. A typical example of an 'earthed' junction would be measuring the temperature of a hot water pipe with a non insulated thermocouple. If there are any poor earth connections a few volts may exist between the pipe and the earth of the measuring instrument. Thermal Shunting: All thermocouples have some mass.twisting the cable together to help ensure both wires pick up the same noise signal.

2. standards. A fixed point cell is composed of a metal 60 . In the above example a thermocouple with thinner wires may help. Sources of controlled temperatures are called fixed points. If thermocouples with thin wires are used. it’s essential to calibrate the device accordingly. and procedures must be in place. a control temperature must be established that is stable and provides a constant temperature.1.dissipate to the atmosphere so reducing the temperature of the liquid around the wires.7 Calibrating Thermocouples In order to achieve accurate readings from a thermocouple. various types of measuring equipment. thermal conduction may cause the thermocouple junction to be a different temperature to the liquid itself. The use of a thermocouple with thin wires connected to much thicker thermocouple extension wire often offers the best compromise. as it will cause a steeper gradient of temperature along the thermocouple wire at the junction between the liquid and ambient air. it must be uniform and cover a large enough area that the thermocouple can adequately be inserted into it (such as an ice bath). due to the cooler ambient air temperature on the wires. First. thermocouples are standardized by using 0 degrees C as a reference point. To calibrate a thermocouple. A similar problem can occur if the thermocouple is not sufficiently immersed in the liquid. Typically. consideration must be paid to lead resistance. and many devices can adjust to compensate for the varying temperatures at thermocouple junctions.3.3.

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

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

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

In its pure form it exists as a polymer. If the glass is then cooled quickly. R-glass (alumino silicate glass without MgO and CaO with high mechanical requirements). but also Aglass (alkali-lime glass with little or no boron oxide). The differences between them are their physical properties and compositions. where it starts to degrade. E-glass and S-glass. Sglass also has a higher tensile and compressive strength (the maximum stress it can take before breaking). In the polymer. E-CR-glass (alumino-lime silicate with less than 1 wt% alkali oxides. mainly used for glass-reinforced plastics). and S-glass (alumino silicate glass without CaO but with high MgO content with high tensile strength).000 °C (3. At 1. (SiO2) n. has high acid resistance).630 °F). D-glass (borosilicate glass with high dielectric constant). It has no true melting point but softens at 2.713 °C (3. E-glass comes from calcium whereas S-glass is created with magnesium. SiO2. it forms SiO4 groups that are configured as a tetrahedron with the silicon atom at the centre 64 . Properties of FIBRE GLASS The basis of textile-grade glass fibres is silica. they will be unable to form an ordered structure. used for example for glass staple fibres).115 °F). C-glass (alkali-lime glass with high boron oxide content. most of the molecules can move about freely.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.

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

Uses of Fibreglass: Uses for regular fibreglass include mats. They are often used in high stress situations because they can undergo a higher elongation than carbon fibres before breaking. reinforcement of various materials. pole vault poles.5 4.and corrosion-resistant fabrics.45 72.0 5. sound insulation. bows and crossbows.Table 2.% E-glass 2580 3. heat. have similar properties in all directions. GPa Elongation. GPa Tensile Modulus. arrows.7 The high surface area to weight ratio make glass fibres useful in many situations.9 S-glass 2490 4. translucent roofing panels. The picture shows the microstructure of a glass fibre. thermal insulation. Whereas Kevlar’s weakness is that its strength is only along the fibre axis. automobile bodies. because of the underlying amorphous structure. high-strength fabrics. surfboards. boat 66 . tent poles. fibreglass products. electrical insulation.5 Properties of E and G Types Fibre Glass Property Density.6 85. sound absorption. kg/m Tensile Strength. 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.

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

2.3.4 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 .

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

preventing disease. which allows the nutrients in the compost to slowly release into the soil. and Industrial. Compost fertilizer has several different applications. This is the product that experienced gardeners often call black gold because it is so valuable to plants. The completed compost should have a dark brown colour and smell earthy and musty like fresh soil. 2.4. Compost fertilizer may also be used as part of a potting soil mix. etc. making compost tea. If the pile has a bad smell like garbage.When properly maintained. it is more than likely not ready and may need additional material added to it to correct the balance of the overall mixture. compost fertilizer should be ready for use in approximately two to four weeks. Commercial. It is often combined with existing soil. Biological – This is the highest quality compost and therefore the most beneficial in improving soils. 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. 70 .1 Types of Compost Compost can be broken into three basic types based on its quality and usage. The bag will have holes in it so that air can enter and the beneficial microbes can breathe and be kept alive. These are Biological.

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

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

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

The compost layer is eventually consumed by the soil organisms. Soil organisms do better when temperature changes are gradual. 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.slower. • MULCH TO MINIMIZE LOSS OF SOIL MOISTURE: Compost acts like a sponge and retains moisture. Too thick a layer of compost as a mulch can create watering problems. Compost is of particular value as a soil amendment to improve drainage in that it works so well and is so easy to use. 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. particularly by earthworms. 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. • 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. This helps to minimize the loss of soil moisture. adding to the life of the soil.

2 Drying Procedure i.AG Timbers.1 Biomass Collection Raw Material used Saw dust. Source: Saw dust.The saw dust was spread on a tarpaulin to dry. wood shavings and rice husk.project site at FABI Rice Husk-Asuanse 3.1.CHAPTER THREE 3. 75 .1.0 METHODOLOGY 3. Kumasi in the Ashanti region Ghana.1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3. Kaasi. ii.A sample of the saw dust was first collected and tested for its moisture content. Wood shavings .

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

Pure water is said to be neutral. 77 . The pH of the samples used and the char obtained were determined. teaspoon or small scoop. Distilled water. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. with a pH close to 7.0 at 25 °C (77 °F). Standard buffer solutions of known pH values .3 Determination of pH pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. glass beaker.0.Fig 3-3 covered saw dust 3.standards used were pH of 4.1. glass stiffing rod. Apparatus and Materials pH meter.

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

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

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

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

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

Sack. The heating was allowed to take place until no smoke was observed flowing out of the chimney. At this point the heating material is completely burnt.2.2 BIOMASS WEIGHING Equipment/Apparatus: Shovel. Mass balance. Fig 3-5 Heating of Reactor 3. 83 .temperature had been obtained.

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

Fig 3-7 feeding of reactor 85 .

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

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

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

8 10.6 7.01 6.o C Content.7 26.9 29.43 7.6 5.8 5.1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.34 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= 0.34 10.84 10.0 RESULTS 4.2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.51 7.6 6.34 26.59 7.34 10.34 28.83 10.83 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 6.7 28.8 28.7 27.6 89 .CHAPTER FOUR 4.81 26.6 7.8 28.

7 26.15 26.81 26.2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8.56 7.9 27 pH Temperature. o C Yield.88 29.58 26.94 7.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.68 7.71 7.92 90 .59 7.17 8.6 26.7 29.82 7.74 4.94 29.5 6.Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.8 7. % Average Wood shavings 7.74 7.74 7.4 7.1 29.9 8.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.81 6.

1 27.75 8.7 27.74 8.78 26.7 1.73 8.5 15.4 26.75 28.19 8.42 8.1 insignificant 27.8 29.41 8.83 10.1 16.57 8.8 1.55 27.21 10.83 10.9 Not properly charred 26.83 28.23 8.42 10.3 91 .53 8.82 10.74 8.1 27.9 27.67 27.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 10.2 27.72 10.48 8.76 10.34 8.

741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142.78 16.09 42 40 properly 1.67 29.3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed. kg Obtained.0 4. kg Ash(56.5 6.2 4.226) 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. 39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.42 Biochar Yield.4 Odum A*.% 92 .Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.9 27.00 at 28.08 26.5 7 6.367 2.0 15.

3 Temperature Measurement 4th February.3 814.8 49.6 813. Temperature.7 359.38 NB: A.5 571.2 741.5 84.8 562.6 802.2 562.4 T1 T2 T3 721. 2011.9 72.8 341.8 93 . Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4. C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4.8 607. o C o Temperature. Level C o C o C 807.2 361.3 769.5 816. B.Rice husk C 130 59 45.3 779.5 385.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts.2 513. Temperature.

C o Ti.3 201.6 79.5 68.7 101.1 52.9th February.7 98.8 145.oC (after Level Ti.2 77.4 86.3 53.1 92.5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts .7 144. 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4. 2.3 881. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti.6 72.3 83.9 89.3 97. T6 are temperatures at levels 1.2 64.7 968. 3.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti. C o Ts.3 87. C o Ts.1 57.3 Ts .2 556.6 670. 5.1 93. T3.9 880.6 126. T2.9 70.5 50.4 233.temperature inside the reactor T1.2 55.3 82. T5. 4.5 80.3 790. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 .6 827.2 85. oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161. T4.

0 412.2 137.1 147.44 128.4 144.3 174.1 115.5 265.8 310.2 T2 620.5 139.1 205.3 213.8 134.9 95 .2 443.2 402.6 138.7 97.1 140.9 T4 516.9 82.6 318.3 190.4 262.7 283.3100.2 115.0 166.9 208.0 180.5 148.8 T6 420.7 317.5 124.4 140.4 T3 708.4 310.4 124.7 261.7 169.1 205.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.3 105.9 188.5 166.3 350.5 128.6 212.6 138.4 83.4 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 02:00 549.8 165.6 355.0 255.3 172.9 T5 591.6 185.6 140.1 168.5 139.4 317.9 227.7 118.2 224.9 198.2 209.2 192.4 85.4 185.7 319.6 213.5 224.6 115.7 100.3 171.3 206.4.4 92.7 243.3 119.

03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 153.9 371.5 256.4 92.4 417.4 107.3 104.1 387.3 174.1 249.6 351.2 123.8 154.8 92.3 140.2 135.4 167.1 336.4 349.8 185.8 249.4 125.0 84.1 166.6 154.5 88.6 146.2 98.9 79.6 133.6 265.8 250.0 153.3 110.4 140.5 254.4 344.7 144.3 141.9 120.5 144.4 422.8 150.3 316.8 148.4 88.9 265.6 111.5 318.4 87.7 357.2 253.4 369.2 105.8 152.8 127.5 99.8 405.8 110.8 151.0 186.7 108.5 158.5 212.6 152.0 322.8 244.3 230.4 368.5 254.8 119.2 183.2 407.7 324.8 150.3 108.4 408.9 219.4 112.9 149.4 96 .3 431.1 87.7 321.6 90.8 402.1 113.9 110.6 86.7 157.4 161.6 93.3 163.7 153.9 80.7 251.7 358.

2 82.3 330.6 117.5 117.19:00 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 10:00 132.1 89.7 107.2 109.9 92.9 382.3 114.7 258.1 68.9 96.5 373.2 88.7 93.6 364.3 243.4 132.7 377.7 221.8 106.6 64.3 102.4 92.4 65.2 125.5 336.1 331.6 80.0 107.1 96.4 410.4 406.1 65.4 139.5 112.4 411.4 65.4 78.5 86.6 90.4 75.5 241.7 100.9 139.2 77.1 122.9 91.0 423.4 139.2 362.2 332.4 103.6 410.5 111.5 381.4 251.1 398.2 114.6 74.1 71.4 136.2 76.4 85.3 103.2 89.8 112.9 128.5 338.9 413.9 115.0 377.3 55.2 87.1 87.4 97 .8 408.2 112.1 389.0 332.3 134.5 238.3 374.4 427.3 104.1 239.8 95.2 74.4 120.3 123.4 128.3 73.1 127.8 225.9 94.

5 374.7 120.3 379.3 96.5 433.1 355.9 100.9 90.8 365.7 99.3 125.1 96.5 380.1 98 .2 211.7 98.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.2 94.9 96.2 407.7 98.6 101.5 433.2 101.2 386.1 125.3 98.1 414.9 92.1 95.7 123.

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

82 2202.76 6.31 7.17 1851.49 19.3 Mg 6.28 6. Mg.58 24.36 2038.35 10.49 17.68 2.67 4.55 ppm K 1945.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.7 NB: K.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.7 Ca 19. 4.91 2.41 Na 2.15 11.09 1570.24 1.45 7.16 61. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar.07 K 6. P.68 2.68 4.02 11.45 77. 100 .62 52.09 40.61 13.54 5.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4.33 164.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.

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

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

56. Fig 5-2 Odum sawdust Biochar WAWA STAIN SAWDUST For 14kg of wawa stain sawdust used.3.42%.741g of ash and 142. This gave a yield of 1.226g of biochar. This was because of the large amount of smoke and heat that came out of the reactor through the feeder. The volume occupied by the saw dust compared to the reactor volume was small. 103 . The feeding of the reactor with the sawdust took some considerable amount of time. 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. Hence there was accumulation of oxygen at the unoccupied volume of the reactor.

Also. The wawa sawdust can thus be said to be a non–economical biochar feed stock. This caused the combustion of the sawdust into ashes. Very little oil was seen seeping from the sides of the reactor (drilled holes provided 104 . Wood Shavings (B and C) The wood shavings used were generally composed of a mixture of Red woods (African mahogany and Sapelewood). Celsius were recorded during the pyrolysis process. from the yield obtained from the wawa sawdust compared to the odum sawdust.The delay in the feeding process resulted in the accumulation of large amount of oxygen in the reactor. it can be said that the wawa sawdust gave a less amount of char. Fig 5-3 Wawa stain biochar. 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. Hence.

The follow reasons may have accounted for the reduction in yield: • • Variation in mass of the various wood types. The char also had some charcoal in it due to the wood used to heat up the reactor. 105 .08% was obtained respectively. During feeding. Using 22kg of wood shavings (B) and 24kg of wood shavings (C) a yield of 29. 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. After the char was removed.9%. it had about 98% charred material and about 2% partially charred material. Since 22kg wood shaving (B) gave a yield of 29. Due to this.2 kg) of biochar.9% and 27. the first batch of feed that was allowed into the reactor began to char even before feeding was complete.for temperature readings). collection of oil was difficult. Thus. but that was not the case. it was expected that the 24kg wood shavings would have given about the same percentage yield (7. it took a long time feeding the reactor with the 24kg wood shavings compared to the 22kg wood shavings. High temperature: The high temperature in the reactor made feeding difficult. The large amount of oxygen was as a result of the time used during feeding.

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

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

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

The major nutrients that are displayed in 109 . 5. Rain also has a heat loss effect on the process. From the analysis (appendix C). T5. Also. Major nutrients tend to be less available in soils with low pH (acidic) and less available in soils with high pH. This is due to the accumulation of hot dense gases at that point within the reactor. P. it is observed that the uppermost portion of the reactor (Fig. odum saw dust and wood shavings biochar.7. T6 is hotter than the immediate lower portion. 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. 2. Temperature drops significantly during the night.4-1). From table 4.3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES) The pH of the biochar has an influence on the availability of plant nutrients (major and minor). Major nutrients such as K. Ca and Na are needed in larger quantities by plants for proper growth and development. the high pH value obtained suggests that there was greater ash content compared to the other biochar samples. During a 48 hour observation (appendix E) on the changes of temperature within the reactor during the process. the following observations were made: 1. it can be deduced that wawa stain biochar contains more macronutrients compared to the rice husk.During charring. 3. wawa sawdust was found to have a higher pH (basic) and thus can be inferred to provide more macronutrients when applied to the soil. Temperatures within and outside the reactor rises as the surrounding atmosphere increases in temperature due to reduced or no heat loss from the reactor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

b.17 1851.82 2202. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945.09 40. 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 24.49 17.49 19.09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.36 2038.7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c.3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 .

45 164.d.24 77.07 Wawa sawdust e. Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.91 2.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.62 52.33 1.61 13.54 5.

f.02 11.67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4. Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.31 7.41 Wawa sawdust 122 .16 61.

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

124 .

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