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 Chemical Composition of Biomass.1.......2.................................................... 2................................... Chemical Composition........................3 2..............................................1..............................1 General Objectives..........................................2 2........ 2............. 2...................0 INTRODUCTION...... Importance of Biochar.... Types of Biochar........... 7 8 9 10 10 17 PAGE 1 6 6 2......1 2.................2 Specific Objectives.................1...........................2 RAW MATERIALS 2.............................1..................................................1 BIOCHAR......................................2..................1 Organic components ………………………………………………........1........4 History of Biochar................................................................................................................................................... 18 19 20 23 .................................................................1 Biomass........................ 1.1.....2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings..5 Limitations of Biochar Uses................................................. 1....2...............1. 2....TABLE OF CONTENT CHAPTER ONE 1...1.........1............................................................................0 LITERATURE REVIEW 2................................... CHAPTER TWO 2.......2..... 2........

.. 2......1...... 2...3.......................................1........3....1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings........ 2...1 Thermocouples......................3...............3.... 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ......... 2.................3......................3....3........................6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple......3...... 2....3...............................................................7 Calibrating Thermocouples……………………………………..3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2.......1....1........................1....2.....3.......2.............3............................................................... 2.... 2.....3.......1.....1 Types of Pyrolyzers......3..... 2.............3 Processes of Pyrolysis............................................1.................................1.3 Operation of thermocouples......2.. 2.3......1.2....................4 Aging of Thermocouples.............1.................1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2........................1 Pyrolysis.......................3.......2 Chemical Reactor...........3.........1..........2 Pyrolysis Process Types.......3........ 2.......3... 2...5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples.......3......1 Principles of thermocouples............ 2....................................................3.....1..3.. 2......3................3...3 Process Technology 2...................................................2...............2 Types of thermocouples...............2... 2....1 History of Pyrolysis.........

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

.........111 6....................................89 4.........................................................................3..............3 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT..2 4.............................88 CHAPTER FOUR 4..........................1 CONCLUSION..............................................................1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED...................................90 4........................................................................................ 86 3.2...………………… 109 CHAPTER SIX 6............................4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR................1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED...................................5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR.........................................93 CHAPTER FIVE 5......1 THE pH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL.................101 5.....2 RECOMMENDATION..............................................................................................2.....0 DISCUSSION.3 REFERENCE............................................................3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES)………..............2 TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION………………………………………………..............113 .......0 RESULTS 4.....108 5..101 5......112 6...

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

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

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

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

1 . Biochar is a 2. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta). 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. [Kofi Yeboah (October 2nd 2010). In an attempt to find a solution to this problem. has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource.CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Agriculture is a very important sector in the Ghanaian economy. covering 72.795 metric tons of fertilizers. it has become incumbent on researchers and some concerned literates in the country to provide strategies to combat this problem. Daily Graphic]. improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards. biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs.000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon. widely applicable and quickly scalable. The government spends a lot of money to import fertilizer in to the country. highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. some concerned citizens in the country have come out with a technology known as biochar. It spent over GH¢ 20 million in 2008. Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices.Considering the amount spent on fertilizer importation. under a fertilizer subsidy programme and has an annual import bill on fertilizer estimated at more than $50 million now. Through biochar. The process creates a fine-grained. boost food security and discourage deforestation. This technology is one of the few that is relatively inexpensive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The chemical composition of the biochar may vary slightly depending on the type of material used and the temperature to which the feed material is heated changes the chemical composition of biochar. 9 .Fig 2-1 A comparison of soils in the tropics and that in the amazons 2.2 Chemical Composition Biochar mostly is made up of carbon and hydrogen. The carbon left in the biochar may be about 40% of the total carbon in the material used.

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

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.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.

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

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

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

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

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

cellulose. During pyrolysis the polymer chains can be broken down into smaller polymers.1 Organic components The numerous different polymers present in the organic fraction of the fuel are generally divided in three main groups. The cellulose chains can reach polymerization grades up to 10.1. Cellulose consists of long polymers built with a C6-monomer as base structure. The proportions of these groups depend on the type of wood. Thermal degradation of cellulose normally starts around 350 °C. Cellulose Cellulose is the main component of woody biomass. This temperature depends on the presence of side groups and branches along the chains. but also in gas species that are much smaller than one monomer. The next sections describe the three groups in more detail.000 resulting in a high anisotropic material with a strong crystalline structure.1. This structure is the same for both hard and softwood. 20 .2. Together these three groups from 90 to 95% of wood. hemicellulose and lignin.2. but normally mass fractions range from 40 to 50% for cellulose. from 15 to 25% for hemicellulose and between 20 and 30% for lignin. The other 5 to 10% consists of mineral matter and a few other organic compounds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conductivity in the longitudinal direction is greater than in the transverse directions. Specific heat of wood is dependent on moisture content and. the dominant heating direction is transverse. or conditioning. The conductivity of wood is determined by density.5 36 – 126 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 27 . on temperature. curing. Thermal conductivity is important to wood processing because heating— whether for drying.The primary thermal properties of wood are conductivity. moisture content. to less extent.is an integral step.58. African Mahogany Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Value Unit Value 0 – 10000 32.5 – 101 36 . Thermal conductivity in the transverse directions (radial and tangential) is approximately equal. WOOD TYPES AND THEIR PROPERTIES Table 2. For most processing operations. and direction of conduction. specific heat. pressing. and coefficient of thermal expansion.1 Mechanical and Physical Properties of Some Selected Wood Species A.

0.3 e-6/K W/m.19 .0.6 – 40 0.31 0 – 490 1 – 1.Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.0.K kg/m3 % Value 10500 – 15600 95 – 155 48 – 91 86 – 170 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 28 .6 . Teak Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage Value 0.6 Unit W/m.K kg/m3 % B.38 0 – 630 0.14 .

5 30 – 110 Units MPa MPa MPa MPa 29 . 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 .50.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

an Estonian physicist named Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered that when any conductor (such as a metal) is subjected to a thermal gradient. refractory brick and refractory mortar.3.3 TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT In the production of biochar temperature control and measurement is paramount.Some materials usually used in the temperature control may be factored during the construction of the reactor and some may be used during the pyrolysis process. Thermocouples produce an output voltage which depends on the temperature difference between the junctions of two dissimilar metal wires. 45 . it will generate a small voltage. not absolute temperature.1Thermocouple A thermocouple is a sensor for measuring temperature.2. joined together at one end. The temperature regulation materials may include thermocouple. It consists of two dissimilar metals. In 1822. Thermocouples make use of this so-called Peltier-Seebeck effect. It is important to appreciate that thermocouples measure the temperature difference between two points. 2. fibre glass. When the junction of the two metals is heated or cooled a voltage is produced that can be correlated back to the temperature.3. The temperature at which the pyrolyzer is operated will determine the quality and quantity of products to be obtained .3.

non-linearity must be corrected. In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms. whilst the other end is attached to a probe.3. 2. 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). one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature. either by a microprocessor or by analogue means. 46 . 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. To achieve accurate measurements some type of linearization must be carried out.In most applications. the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures.3.1.1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples. For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range.

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

5% B Pt.3. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required.g. 0. 5%Re W. J. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range. usually referred to by a letter.3.1. 30%Rh Pt.2.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range. e. Table 2. 26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W. 48 .5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use. Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others. purpose.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals. 10%Cr Cu. high use. 3%Re W. Very 1% C** W. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire. 45%Ni 0. K etc.

2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.1.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni. K* Ni.2°C 1300 0. 45%Ni 2. reducing environment General purpose 0. N* 1. Ni.4% L** Fe Cu. 10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0.5%Si 2. 14%Cr 4.5%Si 0.75% 2.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni. 1% G** W W. 1%Si 0. 45%Ni 1.75% J Fe Cu. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type.75% M** Ni Ni.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 .1%Mg (0 to 200) Type.not for new designs 0. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature. 18%Mo 2.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete .75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use.

Similar to T type. 45%Ni 1. 45%Ni 1. Mo = Molybdenum.25% R Pt. 0.substitute for K & N types 0. Pt = Platinum. general low (0 to 50) temperature high or -50 to 1768 Precision. Si = Silicon.75% T* Cu Cu. Materials codes: Al = Aluminium.5°C (0 to 50) temperature Good purpose.5°C new designs 0. Cu = Copper. 10%Rh Pt 1. Mg = Magnesium. Re = Rhenium.25% S Pt. Ni = Nickel. Cr = Chromium.not for to or -270 to 400 temperature.4% or 0 to 600 Obsolete . 13%Rh Pt 1.5°C 0. Rh = Rhodium. high or -50 to 1768 Precision. W = Tungsten 50 .0°C (-60 to 100) tolerant moisture. U** Cu Cu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the above example a thermocouple with thinner wires may help. thermocouples are standardized by using 0 degrees C as a reference point. A fixed point cell is composed of a metal 60 .3. as it will cause a steeper gradient of temperature along the thermocouple wire at the junction between the liquid and ambient air. Typically. If thermocouples with thin wires are used. various types of measuring equipment. First.7 Calibrating Thermocouples In order to achieve accurate readings from a thermocouple. it must be uniform and cover a large enough area that the thermocouple can adequately be inserted into it (such as an ice bath). and many devices can adjust to compensate for the varying temperatures at thermocouple junctions. To calibrate a thermocouple. and procedures must be in place. 2.1. A similar problem can occur if the thermocouple is not sufficiently immersed in the liquid.3. it’s essential to calibrate the device accordingly. a control temperature must be established that is stable and provides a constant temperature. The use of a thermocouple with thin wires connected to much thicker thermocouple extension wire often offers the best compromise. thermal conduction may cause the thermocouple junction to be a different temperature to the liquid itself. standards.dissipate to the atmosphere so reducing the temperature of the liquid around the wires. due to the cooler ambient air temperature on the wires. consideration must be paid to lead resistance. Sources of controlled temperatures are called fixed points.

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

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

3 FIBRE GLASS Fibreglass is commonly used as an insulating material. Fig 2-15 Fibre Glass 63 . A somewhat similar. properly known as fibrereinforced polymer (FRP) or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). but more expensive technology used for applications requiring very high strength and low weight is the use of carbon fibre.2.3. It is also used as a reinforcing agent for many polymer products.3. is also called "fibreglass" in popular usage. the resulting composite material.

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

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

GPa Elongation. hockey sticks. fibreglass products. tent poles. kg/m Tensile Strength.6 85. high-strength fabrics.and corrosion-resistant fabrics.% E-glass 2580 3. However a large surface area is not always a good idea as its performance can be severely impaired by contact with moisture and chemicals. thermal insulation. sound insulation.45 72. The picture shows the microstructure of a glass fibre. boat 66 . Whereas Kevlar’s weakness is that its strength is only along the fibre axis. sound absorption. surfboards. arrows. electrical insulation.Table 2. heat. They are often used in high stress situations because they can undergo a higher elongation than carbon fibres before breaking. have similar properties in all directions.5 4. GPa Tensile Modulus.9 S-glass 2490 4. pole vault poles. automobile bodies.7 The high surface area to weight ratio make glass fibres useful in many situations. reinforcement of various materials.0 5.5 Properties of E and G Types Fibre Glass Property Density. because of the underlying amorphous structure. bows and crossbows. translucent roofing panels. Uses of Fibreglass: Uses for regular fibreglass include mats.

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

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

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

it is more than likely not ready and may need additional material added to it to correct the balance of the overall mixture. The completed compost should have a dark brown colour and smell earthy and musty like fresh soil.1 Types of Compost Compost can be broken into three basic types based on its quality and usage. 2. This is the product that experienced gardeners often call black gold because it is so valuable to plants. Commercial. These are Biological. Biological – This is the highest quality compost and therefore the most beneficial in improving soils. Compost fertilizer may also be used as part of a potting soil mix. 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. etc. preventing disease. 70 . The bag will have holes in it so that air can enter and the beneficial microbes can breathe and be kept alive. making compost tea. If the pile has a bad smell like garbage. Compost fertilizer has several different applications.4. which allows the nutrients in the compost to slowly release into the soil. and Industrial.When properly maintained. It is often combined with existing soil. compost fertilizer should be ready for use in approximately two to four weeks.

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

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

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

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

75 .0 METHODOLOGY 3.1. Source: Saw dust. Kumasi in the Ashanti region Ghana.CHAPTER THREE 3. wood shavings and rice husk.1 Biomass Collection Raw Material used Saw dust.1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3.A sample of the saw dust was first collected and tested for its moisture content. Wood shavings . Kaasi. ii.project site at FABI Rice Husk-Asuanse 3.AG Timbers.2 Drying Procedure i.1.The saw dust was spread on a tarpaulin to dry.

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

Fig 3-3 covered saw dust 3. Apparatus and Materials pH meter. glass beaker. The pH of the samples used and the char obtained were determined. teaspoon or small scoop.standards used were pH of 4.0 at 25 °C (77 °F).3 Determination of pH pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. 77 . Distilled water. Standard buffer solutions of known pH values . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline.1. with a pH close to 7.0. Pure water is said to be neutral. glass stiffing rod.

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

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

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

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

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

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

The bag of saw dust / wood shavings was then sent to the reactor . ii.2. 84 . and the opening tightly closed for the charring process to begin.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 feed was then fed through the upper opening. The temperature within the reactor was periodically checked to monitor the process. iii. The saw dust / wood shavings were collected with a shovel and bagged.Procedure: i. the lower opening of the reactor was closed. The sack containing the saw dust and wood shavings was then hanged on a mass balance and its mass recorded.

Fig 3-7 feeding of reactor 85 .

86 .4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR Apparatus/Equipments Metallic pan. 3.2. trowel.Fig 3-8 Taking of Temperature after Feeding Reactor.

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

........7 88 .........2.5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR The dried biochar was then collected and weighed............ The yield was determined by the following relation: Biochar Yield= ∗ 100% .3..

6 6.0 RESULTS 4.34 10.7 28.81 26.8 28.2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.1 pH and Moisture Content Of Various Raw Materials Moisture Raw Material pH Temperature .7 26.9 29.8 10.8 28.83 10.8 5.83 10.o C Content.34 10.6 5.6 89 .% 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 6.1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.6 7.59 7.43 7.84 10.51 7.CHAPTER FOUR 4.6 7.7 27.01 6.34 28. pH and moisture content analysis of raw material Mass of raw material= 0.34 26.34 5.

2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8.4 7.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.88 29.8 7.59 7.7 26.94 7.82 7.74 4.58 26.17 8. % Average Wood shavings 7.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.15 26.5 6.68 7.74 7. o C Yield.81 6.71 7.Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.92 90 .56 7.1 29.9 27 pH Temperature.7 29.6 26.9 8.81 26.74 7.94 29.

9 27.57 8.19 8.83 10.72 10.53 8.1 27.1 27.55 27.76 10.8 29.3 91 .67 27.21 10.73 8.42 8.2 27.74 8.1 insignificant 27.83 10.74 8.48 8.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 10.7 27.82 10.4 26.9 Not properly charred 26.75 8.5 15.34 8.75 28.78 26.23 8.7 1.42 10.41 8.1 16.8 1.83 28.

5 6.0 4.08 26.367 2.0 15.% 92 .5 7 6.9 27.42 Biochar Yield.4 Odum A*.3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed. kg Obtained.741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142.00 at 28. kg Ash(56.09 42 40 properly 1.2 4.78 16. 39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.67 29.Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.226) 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.

2 741.38 NB: A.3 814. Level C o C o C 807. Temperature.Rice husk C 130 59 45.9 72.8 341. 2011.5 84.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts. Temperature. Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4. o C o Temperature.8 607.2 562.3 779.2 513. B.8 93 .8 49.8 562.6 802. C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4.3 Temperature Measurement 4th February.5 385.4 T1 T2 T3 721.5 816.3 769.2 361.7 359.6 813.5 571.

2 85.3 201. 5.1 93.6 827.6 126. 3.3 881. C o Ts. T2.9th February. T5. T4. C o Ts.2 55.7 101. C o Ti.6 72.7 98.6 670. oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161.9 89.3 97.6 79.3 Ts .3 53.7 968.5 68.oC (after Level Ti.4 233.2 77.4 86. T6 are temperatures at levels 1.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti.2 64.9 70.5 50.1 57.3 790.8 145.3 87.9 880. 4.temperature inside the reactor T1. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti. 2.1 92.3 83. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 .5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts .1 52.3 82. 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4.7 144.2 556.5 80. T3.

8 T6 420.2 443.6 318.7 169.0 166.9 95 .3 171.3 350.7 319.4 310.5 128.6 185.4 262.5 265.7 118.6 213.0 412.44 128.4 T3 708.5 124.7 97.2 T2 620.4 85.7 100.3 174.3 213.7 317.8 310.4 92.1 205.3 105.9 188.4 144.6 138.2 224.3 190.5 166.9 T5 591.3 206.4 Feeding at 15:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 00:00 01:00 02:00 549.1 140.9 82.3100.2 209.6 140.1 168.4 124.9 T4 516.6 138.4 140.7 283.9 208.2 192.4 317.3 119.9 227.5 224.5 139.3 172.4 185.8 134.1 205.5 139.5 148.6 115.1 147.7 243.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.2 115.9 198.0 255.6 212.6 355.4.0 180.1 115.8 165.2 402.2 137.4 83.7 261.

5 88.6 154.6 90.8 127.7 321.8 150.6 152.0 322.7 108.4 112.9 80.0 84.4 344.6 111.9 265.8 119.5 158.3 316.3 230.2 105.5 254.8 151.5 318.9 120.8 152.8 405.7 157.9 79.6 351.1 387.4 167.0 186.8 110.4 417.8 249.1 336.4 87.8 148.1 113.4 125.6 86.3 141.5 256.6 93.7 144.6 133.6 146.1 249.7 324.9 149.8 244.4 349.9 219.8 92.2 183.4 161.5 99.2 135.4 96 .4 408.2 98.4 140.2 407.4 107.4 369.8 402.3 174.7 358.9 110.4 92.03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 153.8 185.1 87.5 254.6 265.3 110.8 250.9 371.8 154.2 123.3 163.4 88.3 140.3 431.0 153.4 368.7 153.7 357.5 212.3 104.3 108.5 144.1 166.7 251.2 253.8 150.4 422.

3 55.1 389.9 92.4 139.4 411.4 97 .5 373.8 225.7 377.4 75.0 332.3 374.2 109.9 94.4 427.6 364.6 74.3 73.2 112.2 77.5 238.0 423.4 251.6 410.4 120.5 111.0 377.4 410.9 413.3 134.2 76.4 103.1 331.2 332.7 93.1 239.5 117.8 408.7 107.0 107.5 381.9 382.2 74.5 112.2 89.1 127.6 90.3 330.1 96.3 102.2 114.2 125.9 91.1 71.7 258.1 398.4 85.7 100.8 95.3 104.8 106.9 128.8 112.9 139.2 82.9 96.2 87.1 68.3 103.6 64.3 123.4 406.19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 132.5 336.1 89.9 115.2 362.3 114.4 132.4 139.4 65.1 65.7 221.1 87.4 65.4 136.6 117.4 128.4 92.2 88.5 338.3 243.6 80.5 241.4 78.5 86.1 122.

5 374.5 380.5 433.7 99.7 123.3 98.5 433.2 407.2 101.7 120.1 98 .9 96.8 365.1 355.3 96.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.2 211.3 125.3 379.1 96.1 414.6 101.7 98.1 95.2 386.9 90.2 94.9 100.1 125.9 92.7 98.

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

76 6.15 11.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.54 5.68 2.45 7.7 Ca 19.3 Mg 6.09 40.17 1851.68 2.49 17.35 10.16 61.07 K 6.68 4.61 13.58 24. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar.55 ppm K 1945.24 1.7 NB: K.33 164.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4. 100 .41 Na 2.82 2202.09 1570.91 2.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.02 11.31 7.36 2038.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.28 6.45 77.67 4.49 19. P. 4. Mg.62 52.

CHAPTER FIVE 5. 5. This could be attributed to the fact that the was the presence of oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere. Mass of feed was too much 3. Feeding the reactor was difficult because the reactor was very hot and part of the feed was lost during the process. Problems 1. 2. it began to burn. therefore charring was incomplete. Inability of heat to go through the feed due to small pore spaces of saw dust.1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED ODUM A (36kg) There was very little ash produced little char and lots of uncharred saw dust. Inability to measure the temperature due to the absence of drilled holes on the sides of the reactor. Initial temperature was too low. 101 .0 DISCUSSION 5. 4. When the uncharred saw dust was removed from the reactor and exposed to the atmosphere.

102 . This oxygen may have entered through the drilled holes on the side of the reactor which were not blocked during the pyrolysis process. The large amount of ash produced compared to the char gotten could be attributed to the large amount of oxygen that was present in the reactor. High temperature of the reactor burnt the first sample of saw dust that reached it before complete feeding was done. 2.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. Problems 1.

42%. 56. Fig 5-2 Odum sawdust Biochar WAWA STAIN SAWDUST For 14kg of wawa stain sawdust used.3.226g of biochar. The ash produced may have resulted from the oxygen that may have entered the reactor. The feeding of the reactor with the sawdust took some considerable amount of time. 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. The volume occupied by the saw dust compared to the reactor volume was small.741g of ash and 142. This was because of the large amount of smoke and heat that came out of the reactor through the feeder. This gave a yield of 1. 103 .

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

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

25th March 2011). Using 23kg of the wood shavings a yield of 26. 106 . E. pers. comm. Some oil was also observed dripping from the vent cap and the flange (some oil was actually collected from the flange about 10ml). Wawa and Teak and with this it took about two days to char. The char obtained was oily. A lot of oil was observed seeping from the holes.Fig 5-4 Biochar from wood shavings Wood Shavings D It is generally composed of Asanfra (Asanfena). Yeboah.09% was obtained. This is because Asanfra is noted to be an oil bearing wood (Dr.

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

Tables 4-4 and 4-5 depict this observation.Fig 5-6 Biochar from rice husk 5.g. 108 . 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. Therefore the mass of the fuel used is proportional to the heat produced.2 Temperature Distribution Temperature distribution within the reactor is uneven. palm kennel shell and husks. firewood. A lot of fuel (e.

From table 4.4-1). wawa sawdust was found to have a higher pH (basic) and thus can be inferred to provide more macronutrients when applied to the soil. odum saw dust and wood shavings biochar. Temperature drops significantly during the night. 2.7. T5. From the analysis (appendix C). 5. T6 is hotter than the immediate lower portion. the high pH value obtained suggests that there was greater ash content compared to the other biochar samples. it can be deduced that wawa stain biochar contains more macronutrients compared to the rice husk. The major nutrients that are displayed in 109 . 3.During charring. Major nutrients such as K. Major nutrients tend to be less available in soils with low pH (acidic) and less available in soils with high pH. During a 48 hour observation (appendix E) on the changes of temperature within the reactor during the process.3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES) The pH of the biochar has an influence on the availability of plant nutrients (major and minor). Rain also has a heat loss effect on the process. Temperatures within and outside the reactor rises as the surrounding atmosphere increases in temperature due to reduced or no heat loss from the reactor. Also. This is due to the accumulation of hot dense gases at that point within the reactor. Ca and Na are needed in larger quantities by plants for proper growth and development. the following observations were made: 1. 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. P. it is observed that the uppermost portion of the reactor (Fig.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

09 40.82 2202.b.49 19.58 24.36 2038. 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 19.09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.17 1851.49 17.3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 .7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945.

33 1.24 77.07 Wawa sawdust e.d.54 5.61 13.62 52. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.45 164.91 2.68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4. Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .

67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.02 11. Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.41 Wawa sawdust 122 .31 7.f.16 61.

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

124 .