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

..3................... 2........................1....2............3...................3...3......7 Calibrating Thermocouples……………………………………....2.....3.. 2........................................3.......4 Aging of Thermocouples...............................................................................2............1............3...............................1....... 2......3.......... 2..........3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2.. 2..................................3.......1......... 2.3................. 2.. 2.........3 Operation of thermocouples....5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples..................3 Processes of Pyrolysis........ 2..2.......1...................1...............3.....1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2.........2 Pyrolysis Process Types..........3......................3.3.........6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple......... 2.3.........3....2..1 Thermocouples........................ 2......................3 Process Technology 2..1 History of Pyrolysis.....1 Principles of thermocouples.....3... 2......1.......................... 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ...........1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings......3............3.................2.................1 Types of Pyrolyzers.................................2 Types of thermocouples.............3.........................1 Pyrolysis.................................1............1.....................1........ 2.3.1.......... 2..........2 Chemical Reactor................3....3.........1............

................3...............................................................................................4.............1.2 Refractory Brick...................78 3......... 75 3.............................1 HEATING OF REACTOR.2 Drying............................................ 77 3......1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3.........................4........3................3...........2...............1 Types of compost.....1........................1....................2 BIOMASS WEIGHING............................................................ 2.......................................................3 CHARGING OF THE REACTOR..................................2................3 Uses of compost.....2...................... 72 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY 3...4.......................................3.............................................. 2...........................................................2 REACTOR OPERATIONS 3.......................3 Fibre Glass..................4 Block diagram of process..................................2... 83 3.....................................................84 ......................... 61 63 68 69 70 71 2.......2 Materials used for making compost.............. 2...1 Biomass Collection................................................. 2.......................................1....................................................................................... 2...................................4 Compost................82 3..................4 Moisture Content Determination........................3..............................3 Determination of pH.................................. 75 3...

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

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

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

................................. Taking of Temperature after Feeding Of Reactor................................................................................ Weighing of sawdust................................................................................... Pyrolysis flow chart................................................................................................. Rotating cone pyrolyzer.......................... Drying of odum sawdust... Covering of sawdust... Bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzer.................................... Circulating fluidized bed pyrolyzer....................................................................................................................................................................... The chemical structure of softwood hemicellulose................................ The structure of the three main components of lignin.......................................................................... Discharged Biochar in a Wheel Barrow........... Flow diagram of biochar production. Feeding Of Reactor....................... Biochar reactor...... Fibre glass................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 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 ............................................ Typical thermocouple circuit......................................................... A diagram showing various levels of temperature measurement.................................................. Softwood structure.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..................................................................................................... A cross section of the reactor............................................................. Rotating plate pyrolyzer.................................................................................. The molecular structure of cellulose............... Covered sawdust.......................................................................................................................................................

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The carbon left in the biochar may be about 40% of the total carbon in the material used. 9 . The chemical composition of the biochar may vary slightly depending on the type of material used and the temperature to which the feed material is heated changes the chemical composition of biochar.1.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.

wood or bark has been used and production parameters. such as the rate of pyrolysis and kiln size. the biochar may retain the carbon. in many cases rice.3 Types of Biochar Not all biochar is the same.4.2. Higher firing temperatures will result in a greater amount of micro porosity and adsorptive capacity. however.1 Benefits to the agricultural sector and waste management The agricultural sector can benefit from biochar in two ways: soil improvement and animal and crop waste disposal. 2. 2. on the other hand. depending on its ultimate use. The benefits of biochar go beyond this. Hence the raw material used determines the type of biochar. The type of biochar varies with biomass type. A wood based biochar. Biochar is rich in carbon and. thereby delaying or completely preventing the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas. extending to the agricultural sector and to various types of waste management.4 Importance of Biochar Biochar has been popularized by its potential role in climate change mitigation. biochar made from manure will have a greater nutrient content than that formed from wood chips.1. therefore a better potential for adsorption of toxic substances and soil rehabilitation.1. 10 .1. will remain more stable for a longer time. As an example.

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

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

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

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

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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bagasse (sugar cane residue.g. Annually. wood waste. palm kernel) and many others. Biomass is currently the fourth largest energy source in the world – primarily used in less developed countries and could in principle become one of the main energy sources in the developed world.2. the term biomass refers to renewable sources of energy that come from living organisms as well those that have recently died. combustion of biomass to produce energy does put the carbon into the atmosphere faster than natural processes can accommodate and 18 . nut shell(groundnut.1 Biomass In ecological studies. these fuels are bound in the earth's crust and are not part of the carbon cycle. green waste. In the world of energy production. hazel nut. agricultural wastes. The type of material used will also depend on the availability of the biomass material. timber. biomass is the mass of living organisms present in a particular area or ecosystem. coconut husk. cocoa husk. Burning biomass does not release carbon into the atmosphere that adds to the amount of carbon already present in the normal carbon cycle. rice husks and straw.)peanut hull. distillers grain. while produced from ancient biomass. 2. food wastes. paper sludge. This eliminates the fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum because. However. manure. leaves. photosynthesis is said to store 5-8 times more energy in biomass than humanity currently consumes from all sources. grasses.2.2 RAW MATERIALS There are wide ranges of biomasses that can serve as potential biochar feedstocks: e.

Usually there are two groups of wood distinguished. These include wood.1. grasses. Industries are typically more selective when they define biomass to mean only that which is useful to their particular type of business.and softwood.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. 2.2. household garbage. both directly harvested and waste products from other processes. physical and biological properties. Different substances meet the definition of biomass. Both groups have different chemical. but within these groups also large variations are possible Figure 2-4 Hardwood fibre structure Figure2-5 Soft wood structure 19 . oils produced from trees or vegetables. hard. grains.reabsorb. and more. the amount of bark and the woods geographical origin. The chemical composition depends on many characteristics like the wood species.

This temperature depends on the presence of side groups and branches along the chains.2. but normally mass fractions range from 40 to 50% for cellulose. The proportions of these groups depend on the type of wood.000 resulting in a high anisotropic material with a strong crystalline structure. but also in gas species that are much smaller than one monomer. hemicellulose and lignin. Cellulose consists of long polymers built with a C6-monomer as base structure. During pyrolysis the polymer chains can be broken down into smaller polymers.1. This structure is the same for both hard and softwood. The other 5 to 10% consists of mineral matter and a few other organic compounds. The cellulose chains can reach polymerization grades up to 10. Together these three groups from 90 to 95% of wood. 20 .2.1. Thermal degradation of cellulose normally starts around 350 °C. The next sections describe the three groups in more detail. Cellulose Cellulose is the main component of woody biomass. cellulose.1 Organic components The numerous different polymers present in the organic fraction of the fuel are generally divided in three main groups. from 15 to 25% for hemicellulose and between 20 and 30% for lignin.

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

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

especially in terms of its flammability. and as scatter. The common types of wood sawdust in Ghana include those obtained from Mahogany. It is also sometimes used in bars in order to soak up spills. 23 . 2. This material is produced from cutting with a saw. or for the manufacture of particleboard. or as a fuel. It has a variety of practical uses. It has also been used in artistic displays.Figure 2-8 The structure of the three main components of lignin. Odum. including serving as mulch. Sapele.2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings Sawdust is composed of fine particles of wood. Wawa. Onyina. Historically.2.1. or as an alternative to clay cat litter. Cedar and some red woods. it has been treated as a by-product of manufacturing industries and can easily be understood to be more of a hazard. Teak. allowing the spill to be easily swept out the door. hence its name.

unless reprocessed into particleboard. This high "biological oxygen demand" can suffocate fish and other organisms. Sawmills may be storing thousands of cubic metres of wood residues in one place. but use up much of the available oxygen.2. creating an environmental hazard. The decomposition of a tree in a forest is similar to the impact of sawdust.1.2. but say most lack standardized methodology or evidence of a direct impact on wildlife. There is an equally detrimental effect on beneficial bacteria. sawdust may collect in piles and add harmful leachates into local water systems. This has placed small sawyers and environmental agencies in a deadlock. They don’t take into account large drainage areas. so it is not at all advisable to 24 .2.1 Science of sawdust The main by-product of sawmills. so the amount of material that is getting into the water from the site in relation to the total drainage area is minuscule. saying the "dilution is the solution to pollution" argument is no longer accepted in environmental science. burned in a sawdust burner or used to make heat for other milling operations. Technical advisors have reviewed some of the environmental studies. Other scientists have a different view. so the issue becomes one of concentration. but the difference is of scale. who compare wood residuals to dead trees in a forest. Questions about the science behind the determination of sawdust being an environmental hazard remain for sawmill operators (though this is mainly with finer particles). Water-borne bacteria digest organic material in leachates.

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

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

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

6 Unit W/m.Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.31 0 – 490 1 – 1.0.0.0. Teak Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage Value 0.3 e-6/K W/m.38 0 – 630 0.K kg/m3 % Value 10500 – 15600 95 – 155 48 – 91 86 – 170 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 28 .19 .6 .14 .K kg/m3 % B.6 – 40 0.

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

2002). The term char is used generally to describe the solid product of pyrolysis. sometimes phase-separated. and biochar will be used where the intention is for the char to be used as a soil amendment. The gas product is termed synthesis gas.3.2. sometimes as a single aqueous phase. is generally of high carbon content and may contain around half the total carbon of the original organic matter. Organic liquid product is generally hydrophilic containing many oxygenated compounds and is present. some present in a remaining volatile portion. together with water produced in the pyrolysis reaction or remaining from the feedstock (Demirbas and Arin. 30 . typically ranging 60-90% (Gaur and Reed. termed variously as char. 1995). hydrogen and twocarbon hydrocarbons in varying proportions. Some is ‘fixed-carbon’ in terms of its proximate analysis. charcoal will be used for more traditional processes with wood as feedstock. charcoal or coke. methane. The volatiles can be partly condensed to give a liquid fraction leaving a mixture of so-called ‘non-condensable’ gases.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. 2002). The solid. It is generally composed of carbon dioxide. inorganic material in char is termed ash. Char contains varying carbon content. biochar. carbon monoxide. shortened to syngas. Liquid products from biomass pyrolysis are frequently termed bio-oil.

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

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

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

When used for biomass it has performance similar to slow pyrolysis techniques. usually in the context of laboratory studies involving rapid movement of substrate through a heated tube under gravity or in a gas flow. 2009). Higher temperatures and shorter residence times than fast pyrolysis are used. Flash carbonization is a different process involving partial combustion of a packed bed of biomass in a pressurized reactor with a controlled air supply. Other Technologies This section covers a brief review of technologies other than slow and fast pyrolysis that maybe used for thermal treatment of biomass and char production. The technology is currently being commercialized by Carbon Diversion Incorporated (CDI. there is as yet little commercial use with biomass in biochar production. Very fast pyrolysis is sometimes referred to as ‘flash pyrolysis’. 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. 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 .these technologies have well-established commercial applications. This reactor was designed for waste disposal of electrical and electronic component residues by pyrolysis. although somewhat quicker. the main product distributions are similar to fast pyrolysis. The term ‘intermediate pyrolysis’ has been used to describe biomass pyrolysis in a certain type of commercial screw-pyrolyzer – the Haloclean reactor.

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

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 .

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

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

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

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. 1. After exiting the reactor zone. the charcoal can be removed by a cyclone separator and stored. a heated sand medium in a zero-oxygen environment quickly heats the feedstock (biomass) to 850º F. in which case special steps may need to be taken when they are restarted so that their functionality will not be impaired. They also have good gas-to-solids contact.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. to ensure that it conforms with safety guidelines and to confirm that the space has been properly designed to accommodate the chemical reactor 2.3. an engineer may design a custom reactor which is specifically built for the purpose. Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzers have been popular because they are simpler to design and construct compared with other reactor designs. For special applications. where it is decomposed into solid char. vapours and aerosols which exit the reactor by the conveying fluidizing gas stream. gas. In a fluidized bed pyrolyzer. in which case the engineer is also involved in the design of the space where the reactor will be used.2.down for maintenance or when they are not needed. good heat transfer. The 40 .

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

better gas-solid contact and improved ability to handle solids that are more difficult to fluidize but are less commonly used. Fig 2-11 Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers 42 . However.2. 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. 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 heat supply typically comes from a secondary char combustor. they have higher processing capacity.

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

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

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

In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms.1. For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range. non-linearity must be corrected.In most applications. one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature. 2.3.1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples. either by a microprocessor or by analogue means. the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures. 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. 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). whilst the other end is attached to a probe.3.

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

Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others. Table 2. e. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range. 5%Re W. 10%Cr Cu. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni. Very 1% C** W. J. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire. 48 . purpose.3. K etc. 45%Ni 0. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures.3.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range.5% B Pt. high use. 0. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals. 26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W.5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use. 30%Rh Pt.g.2. usually referred to by a letter.1. 3%Re W.

10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0. 1%Si 0.75% M** Ni Ni.75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1.1. 45%Ni 2.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni.not for new designs 0.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni. 1% G** W W.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 . 14%Cr 4. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature.1%Mg (0 to 200) Type.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete . reducing environment General purpose 0.5%Si 0. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type. K* Ni.75% J Fe Cu. 45%Ni 1. N* 1.2°C 1300 0. 18%Mo 2. Ni.4% L** Fe Cu.2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.75% 2.5%Si 2.

Mg = Magnesium. 45%Ni 1. Ni = Nickel.25% S Pt.5°C (0 to 50) temperature Good purpose. Cu = Copper. Pt = Platinum. Mo = Molybdenum.75% T* Cu Cu.5°C new designs 0. 0.not for to or -270 to 400 temperature. Materials codes: Al = Aluminium.0°C (-60 to 100) tolerant moisture. U** Cu Cu. W = Tungsten 50 . Cr = Chromium. Re = Rhenium. Rh = Rhodium. general low (0 to 50) temperature high or -50 to 1768 Precision.4% or 0 to 600 Obsolete . Si = Silicon.substitute for K & N types 0. 13%Rh Pt 1. high or -50 to 1768 Precision. 45%Ni 1.25% R Pt. 10%Rh Pt 1. Similar to T type.5°C 0.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C-glass was developed to resist attack from chemicals. E-glass. mostly acids that destroy E-glass. This was the first glass formulation used for continuous filament formation. also implying that the glassy form is extremely stable. but must fall within a specific range. it must be heated to temperatures above 1.190 °F) for long periods of time. These materials also impart various other properties to the glass that may be beneficial in different applications. A new type. this is an alumino-borosilicate glass that is alkali free (<2%). In order to induce crystallization.and four oxygen atoms at the corners. it must be worked with at very high temperatures.200 °C (2. The vitreous and crystalline states of silica (glass and quartz) have similar energy levels on a molecular basis. The first type of glass used for fibre was soda lime glass or A glass. Its particular components may differ slightly in percentage. It is usual to introduce impurities into the glass in the form of other materials to lower its working temperature. was formed. Although pure silica is a perfectly viable glass and glass fibre. which is a drawback unless its specific chemical properties are needed. E-glass still makes up most of the fibreglass production in the world. S-glass is a high-strength formulation for use when tensile strength is the most important property. These atoms then form a network bonded at the corners by sharing the oxygen atoms. 65 . It was not very resistant to alkali. The letter E is used because it was originally for electrical applications.

kg/m Tensile Strength.and corrosion-resistant fabrics. heat. high-strength fabrics. The picture shows the microstructure of a glass fibre.5 Properties of E and G Types Fibre Glass Property Density. GPa Tensile Modulus. sound insulation. Uses of Fibreglass: Uses for regular fibreglass include mats.5 4.45 72. surfboards. sound absorption. electrical insulation. They are often used in high stress situations because they can undergo a higher elongation than carbon fibres before breaking. tent poles. pole vault poles. have similar properties in all directions.Table 2. bows and crossbows. translucent roofing panels.9 S-glass 2490 4.6 85. thermal insulation.0 5. automobile bodies. reinforcement of various materials. However a large surface area is not always a good idea as its performance can be severely impaired by contact with moisture and chemicals. fibreglass products. because of the underlying amorphous structure. Whereas Kevlar’s weakness is that its strength is only along the fibre axis.% E-glass 2580 3.7 The high surface area to weight ratio make glass fibres useful in many situations. hockey sticks. arrows. boat 66 . GPa Elongation.

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

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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

glass stiffing rod. 77 . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. The pH of the samples used and the char obtained were determined. Pure water is said to be neutral. with a pH close to 7. Apparatus and Materials pH meter.1.Fig 3-3 covered saw dust 3. glass beaker. teaspoon or small scoop. Standard buffer solutions of known pH values . Distilled water.0.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.

The electrode was then rinsed well with distilled water 3.1. The electrode was not placed in the samples itself but only in the slurry. The electrode was immersed till the meter reading stabilized. desiccator Procedure i. 78 . The electrode was then placed into the mixture and the solutions gently turned to make good contact between the solutions and the electrode. Known masses of 0.4 Moisture Content Determination Apparatus/Equipment Crucible. Analytical balance. V. IX. IV. VIII. The pH meter was then standardized by means of the standard solutions provided. while stirring every 10 to 15 minutes to allow the pH of the samples to stabilize. II. VI. III. Prior to immersing the electrode into the samples. The pH values were then read and recorded to 2 decimal places. the samples were stirred well with a glass rod. 12 ml of distilled water was added to the samples and stirred to obtain a mixture and the beakers covered with watch glasses. The samples were allowed to stand for a minimum of one hour. VII.Procedure I. An empty crucible was first measured and its mass noted as m1. Oven.2g of the samples were weighed and put in the glass beakers.

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

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

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

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

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

ii. the lower opening of the reactor was closed. 84 . The feed was then fed through the upper opening.2. The saw dust / wood shavings were collected with a shovel and bagged. The temperature within the reactor was periodically checked to monitor the process. iii. Fig 3-6 Weighing of saw dust 3. 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. The bag of saw dust / wood shavings was then sent to the reactor .Procedure: i. 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.Fig 3-8 Taking of Temperature after Feeding Reactor.2. trowel. 3.

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

......5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR The dried biochar was then collected and weighed...2.3............7 88 .. The yield was determined by the following relation: Biochar Yield= ∗ 100% .........

0 RESULTS 4.34 28.1 pH and Moisture Content Of Various Raw Materials Moisture Raw Material pH Temperature .59 7.8 10.8 28. pH and moisture content analysis of raw material Mass of raw material= 0.% 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 6.84 10.8 5.01 6.6 7.34 10.6 7.34 5.7 28.34 26.6 89 .6 5.8 28.51 7.9 29.o C Content.7 27.1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.43 7.7 26.83 10.34 10.CHAPTER FOUR 4.83 10.6 6.81 26.

o C Yield.2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8. % Average Wood shavings 7.6 26.9 8.56 7.94 29.94 7.81 6.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.58 26.8 7.88 29.92 90 .9 27 pH Temperature.74 4.Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.74 7.5 6.7 26.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.68 7.7 29.17 8.59 7.71 7.81 26.82 7.4 7.74 7.15 26.1 29.

9 Not properly charred 26.42 10.41 8.8 29.73 8.4 26.9 27.19 8.3 91 .1 27.7 1.83 28.42 8.74 8.55 27.75 8.21 10.75 28.1 27.23 8.53 8.74 8.1 16.83 10.48 8.57 8.5 15.34 8.72 10.78 26.7 27.8 1.2 27.82 10.B Wawa Stain A1 Wawa Stain A2 Average Wawa Stain A Wawa Stain C1 Wawa Stain C2 14kg Wawa Stain C3 Average Wawa Stain C Wawa Stain C1* Wawa Stain C2* 14kg Wawa Stain C3* Average Wawa Stain C* Odum A1* 36kg Odum A2* Average Odum A Odum B1 15kg Odum B2 Average Odum B Odum C1 15kg Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.83 10.67 27.76 10.1 insignificant 27.

% 92 .3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed.367 2.67 29. kg Ash(56.0 15.09 42 40 properly 1.5 7 6.4 Odum A*.5 6.Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.0 4. kg Obtained.08 26.9 27.00 at 28.226) 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 4.741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142. 39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.78 16.42 Biochar Yield.

8 607. C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4.5 385. Temperature. Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4.2 361.8 49.2 513. Temperature.6 802.5 571.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts.5 816.3 769. B.8 341.2 562.5 84.4 T1 T2 T3 721.8 93 .9 72. Level C o C o C 807.3 Temperature Measurement 4th February.8 562.3 814.Rice husk C 130 59 45. o C o Temperature. 2011.6 813.2 741.7 359.38 NB: A.3 779.

3 881.3 Ts .3 83.3 97.2 55.9th February.4 233. 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti. oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161.6 827. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti.2 64. C o Ts.6 79.9 70.9 880.5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts .5 68. T2. T4. 4.7 101. C o Ti.2 77.1 52.7 98.1 57.3 790.3 82.2 85.temperature inside the reactor T1. T6 are temperatures at levels 1. T5.3 53. C o Ts.9 89.7 968.3 87.4 86.8 145.6 126.5 80. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 .3 201.7 144. T3.1 93.1 92.oC (after Level Ti.6 72. 2.6 670.5 50.2 556. 5. 3.

7 118.6 318.5 139.8 134.7 243.8 310.0 412.1 205.4 83.4 262.3 213.4 T3 708.7 169.2 402.9 227.4 144.5 265.4 317.6 213.3 190.0 255.1 115.2 209.3 350.9 T5 591.5 128.3 206.4 92.0 166.2 137.4 Feeding at 15:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 00:00 01:00 02:00 549.4 185.1 168.7 100.5 148.9 82.3 105.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.4 85.6 115.5 224.9 198.4.6 212.7 319.1 140.6 185.6 140.8 165.3 174.4 124.6 138.1 147.5 166.9 208.0 180.6 355.2 115.2 224.2 T2 620.9 188.4 140.1 205.7 261.9 95 .3 119.9 T4 516.7 317.3100.5 139.44 128.2 192.6 138.8 T6 420.5 124.7 283.2 443.4 310.3 172.3 171.7 97.

4 417.4 161.5 99.2 253.1 249.3 108.6 86.9 371.4 92.8 92.4 344.8 185.5 254.4 88.3 141.3 140.8 250.0 322.7 251.6 133.8 405.1 387.3 174.6 351.9 79.3 104.9 110.4 422.7 153.8 150.0 153.8 148.8 249.0 186.2 135.3 110.8 151.2 183.3 316.7 321.3 431.7 144.6 265.9 80.5 254.03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 153.9 120.1 113.7 157.1 87.9 219.6 90.3 230.4 87.1 336.5 318.4 408.0 84.3 163.8 154.2 98.4 112.4 167.9 265.6 111.5 158.2 123.8 127.6 93.7 358.5 144.4 349.8 150.5 212.6 154.4 107.6 152.5 88.8 110.8 119.8 402.9 149.4 368.6 146.2 105.4 96 .4 140.4 125.7 108.8 152.2 407.8 244.4 369.5 256.7 357.1 166.7 324.

2 332.2 82.1 71.7 377.4 65.2 87.6 64.3 73.2 89.1 389.4 65.9 115.9 94.2 362.9 413.1 239.4 139.5 117.4 410.4 132.1 127.3 55.6 410.3 374.1 65.0 332.6 74.7 107.8 106.1 96.9 91.2 109.4 411.5 336.8 225.9 382.5 112.8 112.6 80.7 221.3 103.0 423.9 128.4 92.5 86.1 331.1 122.3 134.1 68.4 120.2 74.4 139.2 114.3 123.1 89.5 373.0 107.5 111.5 338.1 87.3 243.3 102.2 88.5 381.7 258.2 125.4 97 .4 103.9 92.8 408.7 93.1 398.0 377.4 85.3 114.3 330.4 78.6 90.8 95.6 117.4 427.4 136.4 75.4 128.4 406.6 364.5 241.9 139.7 100.9 96.3 104.5 238.2 112.4 251.19:00 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 10:00 132.2 77.2 76.

7 98.3 125.8 365.7 98.7 120.9 96.9 90.1 95.1 414.3 96.9 100.1 98 .5 374.2 386.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.6 101.3 379.5 433.2 407.3 98.7 99.1 125.9 92.1 96.5 380.2 94.2 211.1 355.7 123.5 433.2 101.

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

67 4.09 1570.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.31 7.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4.82 2202.61 13.68 4.24 1. 4.45 77.7 NB: K.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.7 Ca 19.76 6.41 Na 2.16 61.62 52.07 K 6. Mg.55 ppm K 1945.49 17.02 11.91 2.45 7.68 2. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar.28 6.33 164.15 11.3 Mg 6. 100 .49 19. P.58 24.36 2038.68 2.54 5.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.17 1851.09 40.35 10.

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

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

It may also have resulted from the combustion of the sawdust at the time of feeding the reactor.226g of biochar. The feeding of the reactor with the sawdust took some considerable amount of time. 103 . 56. The ash produced may have resulted from the oxygen that may have entered the reactor. The volume occupied by the saw dust compared to the reactor volume was small. This was because of the large amount of smoke and heat that came out of the reactor through the feeder. Hence there was accumulation of oxygen at the unoccupied volume of the reactor. Fig 5-2 Odum sawdust Biochar WAWA STAIN SAWDUST For 14kg of wawa stain sawdust used.3.42%.741g of ash and 142. This gave a yield of 1.

Also. Celsius were recorded during the pyrolysis process. Hence.The delay in the feeding process resulted in the accumulation of large amount of oxygen in the reactor. it can be said that the wawa sawdust gave a less amount of char. This caused the combustion of the sawdust into ashes. 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. Wawa and Teak. The wawa sawdust can thus be said to be a non–economical biochar feed stock. from the yield obtained from the wawa sawdust compared to the odum sawdust. It took about three days to char because moderates temperatures of about 350 Deg. Fig 5-3 Wawa stain biochar. Very little oil was seen seeping from the sides of the reactor (drilled holes provided 104 .

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

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

The longer the time taken to feed the reactor.Rice Husk A yield of 42.0% char was obtained from 10kg of rice husk. the rice husks have smaller air space between them than the wood shavings. This is partly due to the fact that it takes less time to feed 10kg of rice husk than 10kg of wood shavings. Rice husk is noted as a good insulating material for building . which reduces the yield. In comparison with that obtained for saw dust and wood shavings the rice husk produced a higher yield of char. the more air enters and subsequently. therefore do not allow more oxygen to accumulate within its pore spaces. hence this enhances pyrolysis and reduce combustion. In addition. more ash is produced. 107 . The charring process took two days and more oil was obtained. This explains why less ash is obtained even at higher temperatures compared to wood shavings.

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

P. The major nutrients that are displayed in 109 . 2.During charring. This is due to the accumulation of hot dense gases at that point within the reactor. odum saw dust and wood shavings biochar. From the analysis (appendix C). From table 4. it is observed that the uppermost portion of the reactor (Fig. Rain also has a heat loss effect on the process.3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES) The pH of the biochar has an influence on the availability of plant nutrients (major and minor). T6 is hotter than the immediate lower portion. T5. 5. 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.4-1). 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. During a 48 hour observation (appendix E) on the changes of temperature within the reactor during the process. wawa sawdust was found to have a higher pH (basic) and thus can be inferred to provide more macronutrients when applied to the soil. the following observations were made: 1. Ca and Na are needed in larger quantities by plants for proper growth and development. Major nutrients tend to be less available in soils with low pH (acidic) and less available in soils with high pH. Major nutrients such as K. 3. Temperature drops significantly during the night. 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.7.

table 4.7 are found to be water soluble. The pHs of most of the biochar was found to be basic. They dissolved in soil water and made available to plants for easy absorption and use. 110 . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minor Nutrients Boron Copper Iron Chlorine

Symbols B Cu Fe Cl

117

Manganese Molybdenum Zinc

Mn Mo Zn

Appendix B: Biochar type versus Yield

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

45.38

15.78

16.67

1.42

0

118

Appendix C: pH of some Biochar samples

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

11.35 10.15

Odum sawdust

Wawa sawdust

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

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

119

58 24.09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.49 17.36 2038.09 40.82 2202.49 19.7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c.b.3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 . 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. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945.17 1851.

Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218.d.33 1.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .62 52.07 Wawa sawdust e.68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.91 2.61 13.24 77.54 5.45 164. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.

02 11.67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.f.31 7.41 Wawa sawdust 122 . Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.16 61.

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

124 .

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