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......1 General Objectives............1 Biomass.......2.....................................1 BIOCHAR...........1.1.....1...........1...............................2......................................... 2......................... 18 19 20 23 ..........................................................1............................................ 2............................................ 2.......................1 2..................................................................1 Chemical Composition of Biomass..............................................................................1................................. Types of Biochar..........2 Saw Dust and Wood Shavings.....2 2.0 INTRODUCTION...........4 History of Biochar..................2.........................................1..2 RAW MATERIALS 2................... 7 8 9 10 10 17 PAGE 1 6 6 2........... CHAPTER TWO 2................ 2..........0 LITERATURE REVIEW 2............................3 2.......... 1..................TABLE OF CONTENT CHAPTER ONE 1...... 2............1................................ Chemical Composition.....................................5 Limitations of Biochar Uses................................2 Specific Objectives...................2..........................................................1 Organic components ……………………………………………….................... 1.... Importance of Biochar....

............2............................................1 History of Pyrolysis.2.......3.................2...........7 Calibrating Thermocouples…………………………………….....................2......3 Process Technology 2.........3.........3................3...................3........ 2..3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2.......................... 2.......3 Processes of Pyrolysis.....................................3.....4 Aging of Thermocouples...........................3.................3........3.................................. 2.1.....1........... 2....3.3.........................3 Operation of thermocouples.......1 Thermocouples......1 Principles of thermocouples..1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings........... 2.....................2 Chemical Reactor. 2.........................1.....2 Pyrolysis Process Types...........2 Types of thermocouples........... 2.................3.. 2........................3....................3..................3.. 2.3...........1..................1 Types of Pyrolyzers.1................1......3...................1...............5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples.....3.............. 2............2................. 2......3....... 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ........................1.....3.......................1 Pyrolysis...6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple...........1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2...................3.1..................2....3.............. 2...........3.1...........................1...................... 2......1.. 2.

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

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

...................................................6.117 ...............4 APPENDIX...............................................

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

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

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

has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer. In an attempt to find a solution to this problem. highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. it has become incumbent on researchers and some concerned literates in the country to provide strategies to combat this problem. Daily Graphic]. It spent over GH¢ 20 million in 2008.795 metric tons of fertilizers. The government spends a lot of money to import fertilizer in to the country. under a fertilizer subsidy programme and has an annual import bill on fertilizer estimated at more than $50 million now.000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon. some concerned citizens in the country have come out with a technology known as biochar. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta). This technology is one of the few that is relatively inexpensive.CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Agriculture is a very important sector in the Ghanaian economy. biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs. covering 72. [Kofi Yeboah (October 2nd 2010). improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards. 1 . widely applicable and quickly scalable. Through biochar. The process creates a fine-grained.Considering the amount spent on fertilizer importation. 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. Biochar is a 2. Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. boost food security and discourage deforestation.

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

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

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

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

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

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. serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks. in the context of agricultural application sometimes called agrichar or agric-char. as biochar or bio-char (also called charcoal or biomass-derived black carbon.Hence the name ‘biochar’. The enhanced nutrient retention capacity of biochar-amended soil not only reduces the total fertilizer requirements but also the climate and environmental impact of croplands 7 .or no-oxygen environment. biochar was identified as a soil amendment that has the potential to revolutionize concepts of soil management. BIOCHAR Biochar is just charcoal made from biomass (which is plant material and agricultural waste).0 LITERATURE REVIEW Biochar. As a soil amendment. biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative. 2.CHAPTER TWO 2. which we do not adopt due to the wider applicability of biochar for environmental management beyond agriculture) has been used in traditional agricultural practices as well as in modern horticulture.The new frontier inspired by the fascinating properties of Terra Preta de Indio. While "discovered" may not be the right word.1. It is a fine-grained charcoal produced from pyrolysis: the slow burning of organic matter in a low.

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

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

2. the biochar may retain the carbon. Hence the raw material used determines the type of biochar. however. Biochar is rich in carbon and.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. therefore a better potential for adsorption of toxic substances and soil rehabilitation. depending on its ultimate use.4. thereby delaying or completely preventing the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas. The type of biochar varies with biomass type. The benefits of biochar go beyond this.1.1 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. such as the rate of pyrolysis and kiln size. in many cases rice. 2. A wood based biochar.3 Types of Biochar Not all biochar is the same. 10 . extending to the agricultural sector and to various types of waste management.2. will remain more stable for a longer time. on the other hand. Higher firing temperatures will result in a greater amount of micro porosity and adsorptive capacity.1. wood or bark has been used and production parameters. As an example.1.

Mg. 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 . P.The following benefits occur with additions of biochar to the soil: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Enhanced plant growth Suppressed methane emission Reduced nitrous oxide emission Reduced fertilizer requirement Reduced leaching of nutrients Stored carbon in a long term stable sink Reduced soil acidity: biochar raises soil pH Reduced aluminium toxicity Increased soil aggregation due to increased fungal hyphae Improved soil water handling characteristics Increased soil levels of available Ca.

such as paper milling. and the less than 3 per cent that remains in ash after complete burning.1. Through the production process. and by operating at a temperature above 350˚C. it also removes potential pathogens that can be a problem if directly applied to soils. Biochar presents an attractive alternative if the economic costs can be kept below those of waste management. 2.4. Green urban waste and waste from some industrial processes. around 50 per cent of the feedstock’s carbon content is retained in the biochar. the reduction of greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be generated from waste disposal. such as the paper industry) is the fact that it uses organic waste. By accepting organic material as its input.2 Climate Change Mitigation Biochar has been given a lot of attention recently as one means of addressing climate change. and the production of renewable energy. This compares to the 10 to 20 per cent that remains in biomass after 5 to 10 years of natural decay. The pyrolysis process reduces the weight and volume of the feedstock. It has the capacity to do so in three ways: the storage of carbon over long periods. can also be used. but they can become costly. the biochar production process transforms waste into a resource. Some analysts have suggested that ‘up to 12% of the total anthropogenic [carbon] 12 .A second benefit of biochar production to the agricultural sector (and some industries. waste processing or recycling. animal and crop waste can contaminate ground and surface waters. Waste management practices are aimed at preventing such contamination. Left to accumulate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Science of sawdust The main by-product of sawmills. They don’t take into account large drainage areas. Technical advisors have reviewed some of the environmental studies. burned in a sawdust burner or used to make heat for other milling operations.2. but the difference is of scale. sawdust may collect in piles and add harmful leachates into local water systems. Sawmills may be storing thousands of cubic metres of wood residues in one place.2. unless reprocessed into particleboard. This high "biological oxygen demand" can suffocate fish and other organisms. There is an equally detrimental effect on beneficial bacteria. The decomposition of a tree in a forest is similar to the impact of sawdust.2.1. Water-borne bacteria digest organic material in leachates. who compare wood residuals to dead trees in a forest. so the issue becomes one of concentration. 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. This has placed small sawyers and environmental agencies in a deadlock. so it is not at all advisable to 24 . but use up much of the available oxygen. Questions about the science behind the determination of sawdust being an environmental hazard remain for sawmill operators (though this is mainly with finer particles). creating an environmental hazard. Other scientists have a different view. but say most lack standardized methodology or evidence of a direct impact on wildlife.

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

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

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

K kg/m3 % B.14 .31 0 – 490 1 – 1.19 . Teak Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quantity Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage Value 0.38 0 – 630 0.6 .0.0.3 e-6/K W/m.6 – 40 0.Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.6 Unit W/m.0.K kg/m3 % Value 10500 – 15600 95 – 155 48 – 91 86 – 170 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 28 .

50.5 30 – 110 Units MPa MPa MPa MPa 29 . Wawa Mechanical Properties Quality Young's modulus Tensile strength Compressive strength Bending strength Physical Properties Quality Density Value 0 – 350 Unit kg/m3 Value 4900 – 8700 11 – 80 24 .C.

It is generally composed of carbon dioxide. The volatiles can be partly condensed to give a liquid fraction leaving a mixture of so-called ‘non-condensable’ gases. The term char is used generally to describe the solid product of pyrolysis. termed variously as char. charcoal will be used for more traditional processes with wood as feedstock. 2002). carbon monoxide. Some is ‘fixed-carbon’ in terms of its proximate analysis. some present in a remaining volatile portion. The gas product is termed synthesis gas. Char contains varying carbon content.3 PROCESS TECHNOLGY 2.1 Pyrolysis Pyrolysis is a thermo chemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (Demirbas and Arin. charcoal or coke. biochar. and biochar will be used where the intention is for the char to be used as a soil amendment. 2002). together with water produced in the pyrolysis reaction or remaining from the feedstock (Demirbas and Arin. typically ranging 60-90% (Gaur and Reed. sometimes phase-separated. inorganic material in char is termed ash.2. methane. Liquid products from biomass pyrolysis are frequently termed bio-oil. The solid. 30 . 1995). shortened to syngas. Organic liquid product is generally hydrophilic containing many oxygenated compounds and is present.3. sometimes as a single aqueous phase. hydrogen and twocarbon hydrocarbons in varying proportions. is generally of high carbon content and may contain around half the total carbon of the original organic matter.

3.Fig 2-9 Pyrolysis Flow chart 2. some high value liquid products. proces been used to extract liquid and gas products from coal since Victorian times and the 31 .000 years ago. For thousands of years charcoal has been a preferred cooking fuel. The earliest known example is the production of charcoal (a fuel for cooking and cave drawings by Croa Magnon man) some 38.1 History of pyrolysis. pyrolysis. Mankind has used pyrolysis and related processes for thousands of years.1. Prior to the development of petrochemicals. In the Bronze Age intentionally produced charcoal was used for smelting metals and charcoal is still heavily used in metallurgy today. was a source of many valuable organic trochemicals. such as flavorings. are still produced by wood pyrolysis. or ‘wood distillation’. compounds for industrial and medicinal uses. Pyrolysis and gasification processes have .

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

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

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

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

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 .

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

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

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

good heat transfer.1 Types of pyrolyzers There are a number of different pyrolysis reactors (physical containers where the reaction is performed). the charcoal can be removed by a cyclone separator and stored.down for maintenance or when they are not needed. gas. where it is decomposed into solid char. Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzers have been popular because they are simpler to design and construct compared with other reactor designs. They also have good gas-to-solids contact. good temperature control and a large heat storage capacity. For special applications. to ensure that it conforms with safety guidelines and to confirm that the space has been properly designed to accommodate the chemical reactor 2. vapours and aerosols which exit the reactor by the conveying fluidizing gas stream. After exiting the reactor zone. 1. In a fluidized bed pyrolyzer. The 40 .3.2. in which case special steps may need to be taken when they are restarted so that their functionality will not be impaired. 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. an engineer may design a custom reactor which is specifically built for the purpose. a heated sand medium in a zero-oxygen environment quickly heats the feedstock (biomass) to 850º F. in which case the engineer is also involved in the design of the space where the reactor will be used.

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

The heat supply typically comes from a secondary char combustor. Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Circulating fluidized bed pyrolyzers are similar to bubbling fluidized bed reactors but have shorter residence times for chars and vapours. 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. they have higher processing capacity.

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

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

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

either by a microprocessor or by analogue means.1. To achieve accurate measurements some type of linearization must be carried out. 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. one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature. 2.3.3. 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). In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms. non-linearity must be corrected. the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures.1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples.In most applications. whilst the other end is attached to a probe. 46 . For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range.

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

10%Cr Cu. 48 . e. usually referred to by a letter.1.3.2. 45%Ni 0. purpose. 5%Re W.g. K etc. 0. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals.5% B Pt. Table 2.3. J. 30%Rh Pt.5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use. Very 1% C** W. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures. 26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range. 3%Re W. high use. Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others.

4% L** Fe Cu. 18%Mo 2. Ni. K* Ni.not for new designs 0.1. 45%Ni 1. 1% G** W W.5%Si 2.1%Mg (0 to 200) Type.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni. 45%Ni 2. N* 1.5%Si 0. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type.2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.75% 2.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 . 14%Cr 4.75% M** Ni Ni. reducing environment General purpose 0. 10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete .75% J Fe Cu.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature.75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1. 1%Si 0.2°C 1300 0.

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

therefore they are very often used in industry.3. To measure this voltage. if the same material was used for the measurement. one must use a second conductor material which generates a different voltage under the same temperature gradient. The voltage difference generated by the two materials can then be measured and related to the corresponding temperature gradient. thermocouples can only measure temperature differences and need a known reference temperature to yield the absolute readings.1.3 Operation of Thermocouples The basis of thermocouples was established by Thomas Johann Seebeck in 1821 when he discovered that a conductor generates a voltage when subjected to a temperature gradient. The 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.3. Otherwise. the voltage generated by the measuring conductor would simply cancel that of the first conductor. based on Seebeck's principle.FACTOR THAT AFFECT THE CHOICE OF A THERMOCOUPLE Thermocouples measure wide temperature ranges and can be relatively rugged. It is thus clear that. existing holes may determine probe diameter) 2. 51 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but more expensive technology used for applications requiring very high strength and low weight is the use of carbon fibre.3. A somewhat similar.2. the resulting composite material. properly known as fibrereinforced polymer (FRP) or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).3.3 FIBRE GLASS Fibreglass is commonly used as an insulating material. Fig 2-15 Fibre Glass 63 . is also called "fibreglass" in popular usage. It is also used as a reinforcing agent for many polymer products.

E-glass and S-glass. The differences between them are their physical properties and compositions. they will be unable to form an ordered structure. At 1. and S-glass (alumino silicate glass without CaO but with high MgO content with high tensile strength). SiO2. it forms SiO4 groups that are configured as a tetrahedron with the silicon atom at the centre 64 . R-glass (alumino silicate glass without MgO and CaO with high mechanical requirements). used for example for glass staple fibres). E-CR-glass (alumino-lime silicate with less than 1 wt% alkali oxides. most of the molecules can move about freely. D-glass (borosilicate glass with high dielectric constant). In the polymer. (SiO2) n. Properties of FIBRE GLASS The basis of textile-grade glass fibres is silica. where it starts to degrade. Sglass also has a higher tensile and compressive strength (the maximum stress it can take before breaking). has high acid resistance). but also Aglass (alkali-lime glass with little or no boron oxide). In its pure form it exists as a polymer.630 °F). It has no true melting point but softens at 2.713 °C (3.115 °F). If the glass is then cooled quickly. mainly used for glass-reinforced plastics).TYPES OF FIBRE GLASS The types of fibreglass most commonly used are mainly E-glass (alumino-borosilicate glass with less than 1 wt% alkali oxides. E-glass comes from calcium whereas S-glass is created with magnesium. C-glass (alkali-lime glass with high boron oxide content.000 °C (3.

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

translucent roofing panels.5 Properties of E and G Types Fibre Glass Property Density. boat 66 .% E-glass 2580 3. They are often used in high stress situations because they can undergo a higher elongation than carbon fibres before breaking. electrical insulation. high-strength fabrics. sound insulation. pole vault poles. because of the underlying amorphous structure. kg/m Tensile Strength. sound absorption.Table 2. The picture shows the microstructure of a glass fibre. surfboards. Whereas Kevlar’s weakness is that its strength is only along the fibre axis.6 85. Uses of Fibreglass: Uses for regular fibreglass include mats. arrows. However a large surface area is not always a good idea as its performance can be severely impaired by contact with moisture and chemicals. reinforcement of various materials. fibreglass products. hockey sticks. GPa Tensile Modulus.45 72. have similar properties in all directions.7 The high surface area to weight ratio make glass fibres useful in many situations.5 4.and corrosion-resistant fabrics. GPa Elongation.0 5.9 S-glass 2490 4. automobile bodies. heat. tent poles. thermal insulation. bows and crossbows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER THREE 3.0 METHODOLOGY 3. Kaasi.1 Biomass Collection Raw Material used Saw dust. Source: Saw dust. Kumasi in the Ashanti region Ghana.1.project site at FABI Rice Husk-Asuanse 3. 75 .A sample of the saw dust was first collected and tested for its moisture content. wood shavings and rice husk. Wood shavings .AG Timbers.1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3.2 Drying Procedure i. ii.The saw dust was spread on a tarpaulin to dry.1.

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

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

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

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

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

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

the temperature was periodically checked along the reactor using a thermocouple. Two openings (hearth and chimney) of the reactor were also opened to facilitate the complete burning of the wood into ashes. While the burning took place. to know whether the desired 82 .Calibration of Thermocouple • • A basic calibration process involves heating water to 30 degrees C in a thermo bath. • One junction of the thermocouple was then placed into the thermo bath.2.1 HEATING OF REACTOR A mixture of dry woods and wood shavings were first fed to the reactor and then lit. • After all the measurements were taken. the multimeter registed one microvolt. the voltage for the thermocouple type at the room’s temperature was determined. This process was repeated by increasing the temperature by five degree increments and the voltage recorded. • The water temperature was increased to 35 degrees C. until 60 degrees C was reached. and the voltage was recorded again. The thermocouple was turned on and each of the two multimeter leads are attached to one end of the thermocouple—at this point. 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. The voltage was then recorded once the multimeter reading becomes stable. The given figure was then added to each of the recorded voltage values gathered previously. 3.

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

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

Fig 3-7 feeding of reactor 85 .

trowel. 86 .2.Fig 3-8 Taking of Temperature after Feeding Reactor. 3.4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR Apparatus/Equipments Metallic pan.

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

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

83 10.% Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 Wood shavings B3 Average Wood shavings B Wawa Stain A1 Wawa Stain A2 Average Wawa Stain A Wawa Stain B Wawa Stain C1 Wawa Stain C2 Wawa Stain C3 6.6 5.8 28.34 26.2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.8 5.CHAPTER FOUR 4.7 27.1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.81 26.6 7.7 26.51 7.43 7.7 28.o C Content.83 10.6 6.6 7.59 7.9 29. pH and moisture content analysis of raw material Mass of raw material= 0.0 RESULTS 4.84 10.34 5.34 28.01 6.6 89 .34 10.8 10.1 pH and Moisture Content Of Various Raw Materials Moisture Raw Material pH Temperature .34 10.8 28.

Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.74 7.4 7.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.8 7.81 26.94 29.74 4.7 29.68 7.88 29.6 26.9 8.71 7.7 26. o C Yield.58 26.59 7.1 29.81 6.74 7.92 90 .2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8.94 7.15 26.5 6.82 7. % Average Wood shavings 7.9 27 pH Temperature.56 7.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.17 8.

8 1.1 27.7 1.8 29.4 26.B Wawa Stain A1 Wawa Stain A2 Average Wawa Stain A Wawa Stain C1 Wawa Stain C2 14kg Wawa Stain C3 Average Wawa Stain C Wawa Stain C1* Wawa Stain C2* 14kg Wawa Stain C3* Average Wawa Stain C* Odum A1* 36kg Odum A2* Average Odum A Odum B1 15kg Odum B2 Average Odum B Odum C1 15kg Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.9 27.72 10.23 8.34 8.48 8.42 8.74 8.83 10.73 8.57 8.74 8.42 10.83 10.82 10.67 27.55 27.75 28.5 15.2 27.53 8.9 Not properly charred 26.1 16.21 10.75 8.41 8.3 91 .1 insignificant 27.7 27.76 10.83 28.19 8.1 27.78 26.

367 2. 39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.5 7 6.741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142.0 4.0 15.% 92 .67 29.00 at 28. kg Obtained.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 2.42 Biochar Yield.08 26.78 16.2 4.4 Odum A*.3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed. kg Ash(56.9 27.5 6.09 42 40 properly 1.Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.

9 72. Level C o C o C 807.6 813. Temperature.5 84.3 Temperature Measurement 4th February.5 385.8 93 .Rice husk C 130 59 45.5 571.8 562.8 49. o C o Temperature. B. Temperature.3 814.6 802. Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4.8 607. 2011. C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4.2 562.38 NB: A.2 513.7 359.5 816.3 779.4 T1 T2 T3 721.2 361.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts.8 341.3 769.2 741.

2 77. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 . oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161.7 101.7 98.1 92.6 670.2 556. 4. T5. T4.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti.7 968.3 53. T3.1 93.3 201. T2.3 83.5 80.4 86.6 827.5 50.2 64.6 72. 2.9 70. C o Ti.2 85.9th February.3 97.3 82.4 233.8 145.temperature inside the reactor T1.3 87. C o Ts. C o Ts.6 126.6 79.9 89.3 881. 5. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti.7 144.5 68. T6 are temperatures at levels 1.2 55. 3.oC (after Level Ti.5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts .1 57.3 790.1 52.3 Ts . 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4.9 880.

4 92.3100.0 255.1 168.2 443.7 261.7 100.5 224.9 188.0 180.4 85.5 139.3 119.6 140.7 118.4.4 144.7 319.7 169.8 134.9 198.5 124.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.8 T6 420.0 412.5 265.3 105.6 115.44 128.6 185.5 166.0 166.3 172.8 165.9 208.3 190.4 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 02:00 549.6 212.2 137.1 115.4 T3 708.4 317.9 T4 516.7 97.7 317.1 205.2 T2 620.3 206.3 174.9 T5 591.1 140.5 148.5 128.7 243.4 140.4 310.5 139.6 318.2 209.8 310.3 350.4 83.9 95 .2 115.4 185.7 283.1 147.2 192.6 138.4 124.1 205.9 82.6 213.2 402.9 227.3 171.4 262.3 213.2 224.6 355.6 138.

9 120.8 92.2 123.9 149.4 349.3 110.4 369.03:00 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 18:00 153.1 166.8 402.9 371.2 407.0 186.6 93.1 113.5 318.4 92.4 167.4 112.3 431.4 96 .8 119.2 135.8 127.5 88.9 79.8 185.5 212.3 316.8 148.3 141.4 344.4 88.8 249.7 251.4 422.7 324.7 358.5 254.8 250.5 158.7 144.5 254.5 99.6 152.2 253.0 153.1 387.6 111.8 152.1 336.9 110.4 368.4 408.8 150.7 153.6 86.3 140.3 104.4 140.0 84.7 321.6 133.9 80.7 357.4 417.5 144.6 90.6 154.4 125.8 150.8 151.3 174.2 98.4 107.5 256.6 265.6 146.8 244.9 265.8 110.0 322.1 249.6 351.4 161.2 183.7 157.3 108.9 219.3 230.7 108.3 163.8 405.2 105.1 87.8 154.4 87.

6 364.2 82.4 75.7 221.2 89.2 109.9 91.0 332.8 95.3 374.4 97 .4 139.3 243.4 410.2 112.9 382.4 128.4 251.3 134.9 92.4 406.2 114.9 128.9 96.3 114.4 132.5 336.1 89.19:00 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 10:00 132.4 120.4 411.3 104.8 106.1 122.1 331.5 338.4 78.2 362.3 103.5 112.6 74.1 96.7 258.2 77.5 241.7 377.1 389.5 117.1 127.0 423.8 408.2 125.6 64.3 73.3 330.1 65.4 65.3 55.0 377.7 100.9 139.8 225.5 238.2 88.9 115.5 373.9 94.2 74.1 239.1 71.1 398.4 85.7 107.7 93.5 111.6 80.4 103.3 123.8 112.6 90.1 68.5 381.0 107.4 65.4 136.4 92.2 76.6 117.2 87.9 413.5 86.4 139.6 410.1 87.3 102.4 427.2 332.

6 101.1 125.7 120.1 98 .9 96.1 355.2 211.1 95.9 100.7 99.7 123.2 94.9 90.3 98.2 386.2 407.3 96.1 96.7 98.5 374.3 125.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.8 365.2 101.3 379.1 414.9 92.5 380.5 433.5 433.7 98.

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

35 10.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.7 NB: K. Mg.49 19.58 24. 100 .02 11.68 4.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.17 1851.91 2.28 6.15 11.67 4. P.16 61.7 Ca 19.49 17.76 6.45 77.82 2202.68 2.36 2038.07 K 6. 4.61 13.68 2.09 40.62 52.41 Na 2. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar.54 5.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.3 Mg 6.31 7.55 ppm K 1945.45 7.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4.09 1570.24 1.33 164.

it began to burn. therefore charring was incomplete. 5.1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED ODUM A (36kg) There was very little ash produced little char and lots of uncharred saw dust.0 DISCUSSION 5. 4. Problems 1. Mass of feed was too much 3. 2. 101 . Inability to measure the temperature due to the absence of drilled holes on the sides of the reactor. Feeding the reactor was difficult because the reactor was very hot and part of the feed was lost during the process.CHAPTER FIVE 5. Initial temperature was too low. This could be attributed to the fact that the was the presence of oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere. When the uncharred saw dust was removed from the reactor and exposed to the atmosphere. Inability of heat to go through the feed due to small pore spaces of saw dust.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot of fuel (e. 108 . etc) is required to obtain higher temperatures. It was observed that the temperature within the reactor drops drastically during charging (feeding of reactor) and rises gradually with time after charging. palm kennel shell and husks. Therefore the mass of the fuel used is proportional to the heat produced. Tables 4-4 and 4-5 depict this observation. firewood.Fig 5-6 Biochar from rice husk 5.2 Temperature Distribution Temperature distribution within the reactor is uneven.g.

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

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

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

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

Pyrolysis [online]. Available from: <http://bioweb.com: Thermocouple types [online].com/article/sawdust .com/article/ > [Accessed 2010 October 9] 4. University of (2007). Environmental Improvement Solutions. Parliamentary library (2009): the basics of biochar [online]. S. 5.com/library/Wikipedia-cid-83243> October 9] 7.html>.S.enviro-news. Parliament of Australia. Available from:< http://www. Samy Sadaka (edited by Marie Walsh).Available from: http://www.answers.org/General/Biopower/Technologies/Pyrolysis>[Acce sses2010 September 29. Sun Grant Initiative and the Tennesee.controlandinstrumentation.Available from :<http://www. [Accessed 2010 October 8] 113 [Accessed 2010 .Last modified 2008 September 9].] Last modified 2008 November 15] 6.6. Sun Grant Initiative and the University of Tennesee. Available from :< http://bioweb.aadet. Wikipedia (2010): Saw Dust. Answers Corporation.aadet.au/privacy.gov. Control and Instrumentation.3 REFERENCES 1. S.aph.com. Wikipedia: Thermocouples [online].sungrant.[Accessed 2010 November 5] 2.The Processes and Benefits [online].org/Technical/Biopower/Technologies/Pyrolysis/> [Accessed 2010 October 9. Available from: <http://www.sungrant.com/resources/thermocoupletypes.S (2007) Pyrolysis [online]. [Online].htm>[Accessed 2010 October 4] 3. Available from: http://www. Samy Sadaka. Conversion and Resource Evaluation Ltd: Biochar .

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

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

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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

3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 .17 1851.82 2202.09 40.09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.49 17.36 2038.7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c.b.49 19. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945. Amount of Calcium (g) in some Biochar samples 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 19.58 24.

68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.24 77.d.61 13.07 Wawa sawdust e.91 2.45 164.33 1. Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .54 5. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.62 52.

41 Wawa sawdust 122 .02 11.f.16 61. Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.31 7.67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.

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

124 .

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