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.

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

........................ 24 25 30 31 32 37 39 40 45 46 48 51 56 57 57 60 ...... 2... 2.....3.....1...3.1 Properties of Saw Dust and Wood Shavings.....3....1. 2...............1 Science of sawdust………………………………………… 2....................1.7 Calibrating Thermocouples……………………………………........... 2..................5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples.. 2...............1 Thermocouples....................2 Chemical Reactor..........1............. 2....3................2.......................1 History of Pyrolysis......................3....................................3............................1 Principles of thermocouples......3. 2..............2........................................2 Pyrolysis Process Types..3.......3 Processes of Pyrolysis................................3...................3.............................................4 Aging of Thermocouples.1..........3.... 2.3..2.........3............... 2................3 Operation of thermocouples...............3 Process Technology 2...3. 2.......3..6 Problems to be aware of when using a thermocouple..3.....3.....................................1......2...2........................................3.....1 Types of Pyrolyzers..................1 Pyrolysis................2 Types of thermocouples........................................ 2.........................2..........1.......... 2.......1..........3.......1..............3.............3 Temperature Control and Measurement 2..3..........3...............1.........3.................1.... 2...1................... 2...

.....2 Refractory Brick...78 3....1.....2.............2 REACTOR OPERATIONS 3........................................................................................................2....... 77 3.............................. 2......................1 Types of compost......4 Compost........................... 72 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY 3.............. 2.......3.............3 Uses of compost...............4......... 83 3...............................................1 Biomass Collection.................................................................................4 Block diagram of process..2......... 2.................................................................2 Materials used for making compost........................ 75 3.82 3................................................................3..........4...................................................................3 Fibre Glass............................. 61 63 68 69 70 71 2... 2.....................................3..1............2...3 CHARGING OF THE REACTOR......................................2 Drying.......................................3.....................4....1...........................84 ......................2 BIOMASS WEIGHING........................................................ 75 3.........................3........................... 2.........................3 Determination of pH......................4 Moisture Content Determination........................................................................................1 HEATING OF REACTOR....................1.............................................1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3............

.......................... 86 3......2 TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION………………………………………………..............................................................................................1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED..................112 6.89 4..2....0 DISCUSSION...........................................101 5............................90 4.....2................................................................3 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT.............................108 5.............................111 6..3..............................3 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS (CHEMICAL PROPERTIES)……….......................................101 5..........................................................2 4..1 CONCLUSION......1 THE pH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL.....4 DISCHARGING OF BIOCHAR..2 RECOMMENDATION................................................................113 ....................0 RESULTS 4.........3 REFERENCE........88 CHAPTER FOUR 4.5 WEIGHING OF DRIED BIOCHAR.........1 RAW MATERIALS AND CHAR OBTAINED..................93 CHAPTER FIVE 5............................................................................................................………………… 109 CHAPTER SIX 6.......

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

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

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

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

some concerned citizens in the country have come out with a technology known as biochar. highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs. The government spends a lot of money to import fertilizer in to the country.795 metric tons of fertilizers. The process creates a fine-grained. widely applicable and quickly scalable. under a fertilizer subsidy programme and has an annual import bill on fertilizer estimated at more than $50 million now.000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon. Through biochar. has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource. It spent over GH¢ 20 million in 2008. 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.Considering the amount spent on fertilizer importation. it has become incumbent on researchers and some concerned literates in the country to provide strategies to combat this problem.CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Agriculture is a very important sector in the Ghanaian economy. This technology is one of the few that is relatively inexpensive. covering 72. In an attempt to find a solution to this problem. Biochar is a 2. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta). 1 . improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards. boost food security and discourage deforestation. [Kofi Yeboah (October 2nd 2010). Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. 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. 2 . improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards The novelty. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution. A once worthless and costly by-product (in most countries) is now a valuable resource. biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs. 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 also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. Through biochar. . Biochar has unique properties that make it not only a valuable soil amendment to sustainably increase soil health and productivity. but also an appropriate tool for sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide in soils for the long term in an attempt to mitigate global warming.

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER TWO 2.The new frontier inspired by the fascinating properties of Terra Preta de Indio.1.0 LITERATURE REVIEW Biochar. 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. 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. 2. as biochar or bio-char (also called charcoal or biomass-derived black carbon. BIOCHAR Biochar is just charcoal made from biomass (which is plant material and agricultural waste). 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. 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 . biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative. It is a fine-grained charcoal produced from pyrolysis: the slow burning of organic matter in a low. While "discovered" may not be the right word.Hence the name ‘biochar’. As a soil amendment. biochar was identified as a soil amendment that has the potential to revolutionize concepts of soil management.or no-oxygen environment.

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

The carbon left in the biochar may be about 40% of the total carbon in the material used. 9 . The chemical composition of the biochar may vary slightly depending on the type of material used and the temperature to which the feed material is heated changes the chemical composition of biochar.Fig 2-1 A comparison of soils in the tropics and that in the amazons 2.1.2 Chemical Composition Biochar mostly is made up of carbon and hydrogen.

10 . As an example. Biochar is rich in carbon and. wood or bark has been used and production parameters. 2.3 Types of Biochar Not all biochar is the same. depending on its ultimate use.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. A wood based biochar. Hence the raw material used determines the type of biochar.4 Importance of Biochar Biochar has been popularized by its potential role in climate change mitigation.1.1.4. on the other hand.2. The type of biochar varies with biomass type. thereby delaying or completely preventing the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas. however. Higher firing temperatures will result in a greater amount of micro porosity and adsorptive capacity. extending to the agricultural sector and to various types of waste management. biochar made from manure will have a greater nutrient content than that formed from wood chips. will remain more stable for a longer time. therefore a better potential for adsorption of toxic substances and soil rehabilitation. in many cases rice. the biochar may retain the carbon. such as the rate of pyrolysis and kiln size. The benefits of biochar go beyond this.1. 2.

and K Increased soil microbial respiration Increased soil microbial biomass Stimulated symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes Increased arbuscular mycorrhyzal fungi Increased cation exchange capacity 11 . P. Mg.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 the paper industry) is the fact that it uses organic waste. The pyrolysis process reduces the weight and volume of the feedstock. and by operating at a temperature above 350˚C. 2. By accepting organic material as its input.4. Through the production process. Left to accumulate.1. can also be used. it also removes potential pathogens that can be a problem if directly applied to soils. the reduction of greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be generated from waste disposal. but they can become costly.2 Climate Change Mitigation Biochar has been given a lot of attention recently as one means of addressing climate change. Some analysts have suggested that ‘up to 12% of the total anthropogenic [carbon] 12 . It has the capacity to do so in three ways: the storage of carbon over long periods. and the less than 3 per cent that remains in ash after complete burning. around 50 per cent of the feedstock’s carbon content is retained in the biochar. such as paper milling. Green urban waste and waste from some industrial processes. Waste management practices are aimed at preventing such contamination. animal and crop waste can contaminate ground and surface waters. waste processing or recycling.A second benefit of biochar production to the agricultural sector (and some industries. the biochar production process transforms waste into a resource. Biochar presents an attractive alternative if the economic costs can be kept below those of waste management. This compares to the 10 to 20 per cent that remains in biomass after 5 to 10 years of natural decay. and the production of renewable energy.

biochar may present a real quantifiable and verifiable option for storing carbon in the long term. in which 13 . The syngas and bio-oils that result from the biochar production process. it has the potential to reduce emissions from other activities that might need to take place in the absence of the biochar option. and water (H2O) to synthesize organic matter and release oxygen (O2). Both can be sources of greenhouse gas emissions. When plants grow they utilize sunlight. either as carbon dioxide from transport and processing. If it proves practicable to replace traditional slash-and-burn practices with slash-and-char methods. can be used either to produce electricity. if slash-and-burn is replaced by slash-and-char’.1. These other activities are the waste disposal process described above and any recycling process. Moreover. Finally.4.3 MANIPULATING THE CARBON CYCLE Carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and stored in organic matter. This accumulated organic matter is returned to the atmosphere by decomposition of dead plant tissue or disturbances. Not only does this represent a renewable energy alternative but it also improves the energy efficiency of the pyrolysis process. and the generated heat. or methane from landfill sites. or as fuel.emissions by land use change can be off-set annually in soil. 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’. CO2. At the same time. such as fire. the pyrolysis process also produces viable forms of renewable energy. 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

K kg/m3 % B.14 .K kg/m3 % Value 10500 – 15600 95 – 155 48 – 91 86 – 170 Unit MPa MPa MPa MPa 28 .31 0 – 490 1 – 1. 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 0.19 .Thermal expansion Thermal conductivity Density Shrinkage 3.6 Unit W/m.3 e-6/K W/m.6 – 40 0.0.6 .0.0.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intermediate pyrolysis • Low-moderate reactor temperature 50% 25% (50% water) 25% • Moderate hot vapour residence time Fast pyrolysis • Moderate temperature (~500°C) reactor 75% 12% (25% water) vapour 13% • Short hot residence time (<2 s) Gasification High reactor temperature 5% (>800°C) (contains • tar 5% 5% (not biochar) used as 90% Long residence time vapour water) 36 .

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

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

When the reaction is finished.2.2 CHEMICAL REACTOR A chemical reactor is a device which is used to contain controlled chemical reactions. in conditions which can be monitored and controlled for safety and efficiency. Reactions take place inside the reactor. depending on the needs. the components of the reaction are added to the reactor and a controlled reaction is allowed to take place. Continuous chemical reactors operate continuously. while large tanks can be used to make chemicals on an industrial scale. These types of reactors are used in the production of chemicals such as components of pharmaceutical compounds. The design also includes a variety of features which can be used to control conditions inside the reactor. With a batch chemical reactor. These reactors are periodically shut 39 . the batch can be removed and the reactor can be prepared for another round. A number of scientific specialty companies produce chemical reactors and accessories such as replacement components for damaged devices. and they can operate in several different ways. as for example when research chemists are preparing compounds for pharmaceutical research. Chemical reactors can be designed as either tanks or pipes. This type of reactor works best when people need chemicals on a small scale. as long as the materials needed for the reaction are supplied. for example. These are used to create a steady supply of a needed chemical. and they can vary in size considerably.3. Small bench top chemical reactor designs are intended for use in labs. Continuous reactors are commonly used in the manufacture of industrial chemicals. when the need for a chemical is high and very consistent.

3. 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. Bubbling Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzers have been popular because they are simpler to design and construct compared with other reactor designs. good heat transfer. in which case the engineer is also involved in the design of the space where the reactor will be used. to ensure that it conforms with safety guidelines and to confirm that the space has been properly designed to accommodate the chemical reactor 2. 1. In a fluidized bed pyrolyzer. gas.2.1 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. good temperature control and a large heat storage capacity. After exiting the reactor zone. 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.down for maintenance or when they are not needed. For special applications. The 40 . vapours and aerosols which exit the reactor by the conveying fluidizing gas stream. where it is decomposed into solid char. in which case special steps may need to be taken when they are restarted so that their functionality will not be impaired. They also have good gas-to-solids contact.

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

Fig 2-11 Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers 42 . The short residence times encountered in the reactor result in higher gas velocities faster vapour and char escape and higher char content in the bio-oil than bubbling fluidized beds. Circulating Fluidized Bed Pyrolyzers Circulating fluidized bed pyrolyzers are similar to bubbling fluidized bed reactors but have shorter residence times for chars and vapours. The heat supply typically comes from a secondary char combustor. they have higher processing capacity. better gas-solid contact and improved ability to handle solids that are more difficult to fluidize but are less commonly used.2. However.

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

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

It consists of two dissimilar metals. an Estonian physicist named Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered that when any conductor (such as a metal) is subjected to a thermal gradient. When the junction of the two metals is heated or cooled a voltage is produced that can be correlated back to the temperature. Thermocouples produce an output voltage which depends on the temperature difference between the junctions of two dissimilar metal wires. Thermocouples make use of this so-called Peltier-Seebeck effect. 45 . not absolute temperature. it will generate a small voltage.2.1Thermocouple A thermocouple is a sensor for measuring temperature. In 1822.3 TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT In the production of biochar temperature control and measurement is paramount. It is important to appreciate that thermocouples measure the temperature difference between two points. The temperature at which the pyrolyzer is operated will determine the quality and quantity of products to be obtained .3. joined together at one end.3.3. refractory brick and refractory mortar.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. 2. The temperature regulation materials may include thermocouple. fibre glass.

either by a microprocessor or by analogue means. The relationship between the temperature difference and the output voltage of a thermocouple is nonlinear and is given by a complex polynomial equation (which is fifth to ninth order depending on thermocouple type). To achieve accurate measurements some type of linearization must be carried out. non-linearity must be corrected. 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.1.1 Principles of Thermocouples Voltage–temperature relationship For typical metals used in thermocouples.In most applications. 46 . the output voltage increases almost linearly with the temperature difference (∆T) over a bounded range of temperatures. In some cases better accuracy is obtained with additional non-polynomial terms. 2.3. whilst the other end is attached to a probe.3. one of the junctions — the "cold junction" — is maintained at a known (reference) temperature. For precise measurements or measurements outside of the linear temperature range.

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

e.5% B Pt.2 Types of Thermocouples Thermocouples are available in different combinations of metals. 5%Re W. Very 1% C** W. Each combination has a different temperature range and is therefore more suited to certain applications than others.5% or -270 to General 0 to 2315 temperature 0 to 2315 temperature 50 to 1820 reference junction high use.g. high use. 26%Re >425°C (0 to 870) brittle Very 1% D** W. usually referred to by a letter.1.3. 48 . J. Class 2 °C Comments (extension) Good at high no temperatures. 6%Rh >800°C (1 to 100) compensation required. 0.3 Summary of Thermocouple Types Positive Type Material Negative Material Accuracy*** Range. Table 2.2. purpose. the maximum range is also limited by the diameter of the thermocouple wire. 25%Re >425°C (0 to 260) brittle E Ni. 3%Re W. K etc. 30%Rh Pt. 10%Cr Cu. Although the thermocouple calibration dictates the temperature range.3. 45%Ni 0.

1. 18%Mo 2.4% L** Fe Cu. Ni.not for new designs 0.75% M** Ni Ni.2°C or 1200 (0 to 200) Ni. 26%Re >425°C 0 to 2315 temperature (0 to 260) brittle -210 to High temperature. N* 1. 14%Cr 4. 10%Cr 2%Mn 2%Al 0.2°C or -270 1372 to high temperature.7°C 1000 (0 to 200) low and medium temperatures Very high use.5°C or 0 to 900 Obsolete .75% J Fe Cu.75% or -270 new to type as a superior replacement for K A more stable but P** Platinel II Platinel II 1. K* Ni.2°C or -50 to 1410 Relatively Ni. reducing environment General purpose 0.75% 2.5%Si 2.2°C 1300 0. 1%Si 0.5%Si 0. oxidizing (0 to 80) environment Similar to J type. 45%Ni 1.0% 0 to 1395 expensive 49 . 45%Ni 2.1%Mg (0 to 200) Type. 1% G** W W.

Pt = Platinum.4% or 0 to 600 Obsolete . general low (0 to 50) temperature high or -50 to 1768 Precision. Materials codes: Al = Aluminium. Ni = Nickel.75% T* Cu Cu. U** Cu Cu.0°C (-60 to 100) tolerant moisture. Mo = Molybdenum. 45%Ni 1. 45%Ni 1. 13%Rh Pt 1. Si = Silicon. Re = Rhenium. 0.5°C new designs 0.5°C (0 to 50) temperature Good purpose.5°C 0.not for to or -270 to 400 temperature. high or -50 to 1768 Precision.substitute for K & N types 0.25% R Pt. Cu = Copper.25% S Pt. Mg = Magnesium. W = Tungsten 50 . 10%Rh Pt 1. Cr = Chromium. Rh = Rhodium. Similar to T type.

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

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

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

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

Table 2.4 Seebeck’s Coefficients of Some Materials

Seebeck Material Coefficient Material

Seebeck Material Coefficient

Seebeck Coefficient

Aluminium

3.5

Gold

6.5

Rhodium

6.0

Antimony

47

Iron

19

Selenium

900

Bismuth

-72

Lead

4.0

Silicon

440

Cadmium

7.5

Mercury

0.60

Silver

6.5

Carbon

3.0

Nichrome

25

Sodium

-2.0

Constantan

-35

Nickel

-15

Tantalum

4.5

Copper

6.5

Platinum

0

Tellurium

500

Germanium

300

Potassium

-9.0

Tungsten

7.5

55

2.3.3.1.4 Aging of Thermocouples Thermo elements are often used at high temperatures and in reactive furnace atmospheres. In this case the practical lifetime is determined by aging. The thermoelectric coefficients of the wires in the area of high temperature change with time and the measurement voltage drops. The simple relationship between the temperature difference of the joints and the measurement voltage is only correct if each wire is homogeneous. With an aged thermocouple this is not the case. Relevant for the generation of the measurement voltage are the properties of the metals at a temperature gradient. If an aged thermocouple is pulled partly out of the furnace, the aged parts from the region previously at high temperature enter the area of temperature gradient and the measurement error is significantly increased. However an aged thermocouple that is pushed deeper into the furnace gives a more accurate reading.

2.3.3.1.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermocouples Advantages with thermocouples
• •

Capable of being used to directly measure temperatures up to 2600 oC. The thermocouple junction may be grounded and brought into direct contact with the material being measured.

56

Disadvantages with thermocouples

Temperature measurement with a thermocouple requires two temperatures be measured, the junction at the work end (the hot junction) and the junction where wires meet the instrumentation copper wires (cold junction). To avoid error the cold junction temperature is in general compensated in the electronic instruments by measuring the temperature at the terminal block using with a semiconductor, thermistor, or RTD.

Thermocouples operation is relatively complex with potential sources of error. The materials of which thermocouple wires are made are not inert and the thermoelectric voltage developed along the length of the thermocouple wire may be influenced by corrosion etc.

The relationship between the process temperature and the thermocouple signal (millivolt) is not linear.

The calibration of the thermocouple should be carried out while it is in use by comparing it to a nearby comparison thermocouple. If the thermocouple is removed and placed in a calibration bath, the output integrated over the length is not reproduced exactly.

2.3.3.1.6 Problems Associated with the use of Thermocouple Connection problems. Many measurement errors are caused by unintentional thermocouple junctions. Remember that any junction of two different metals will cause a junction. If you need to increase the length of the leads from your
57

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

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

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

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

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

Fig 2-15 Fibre Glass 63 . but more expensive technology used for applications requiring very high strength and low weight is the use of carbon fibre. It is also used as a reinforcing agent for many polymer products. is also called "fibreglass" in popular usage.3.3 FIBRE GLASS Fibreglass is commonly used as an insulating material. properly known as fibrereinforced polymer (FRP) or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).3.2. the resulting composite material. A somewhat similar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. The feeding of the soil organisms needs to be on-going.3 Uses of compost Compost is a valuable material that does many jobs and does them well.shredded paper weeds (before they go to seed) straw newspapers wood ash (sprinkle lightly between layers) hay 2. salts and other toxic materials.digested" a lot of the material making it easier for the soil organisms to assimilate as nutrients. Most garden soils are low in organic content. In regions in which the growing season is extended or 72 . the soil organisms in regions with a relatively short growing season can consume a 2" (5 cm) layer of compost or composted manure per year. diversity and activity of the soil organisms. The uses include: • NUTRIENT SOURCE FOR THE SOIL ORGANISMS: Compost is the best. The composting process has "pre. One of the activities of the soil organisms is the consumption of this organic matter. all around source of organic material as a nutrient for soil organisms. increasing the quantity. Making the soil richer in organic content. There always seem to be the need for more compost than is available. Composted material is also cleaner relative to pathogens. Generally speaking.

and it helps to create better porosity. Feeding the garden means feeding the soil organisms and compost is an excellent source of these nutrients. In practice. better than any other material. will amend slow draining clay soils to drain faster and sharp draining sand soils to drain 73 . they can consume twice that much. It takes a lot of organic material to feed the soil organisms. Fish emulsion or fish meal usually contain enough of the trace elements that supplemental feedings with either material would correct possible deficiencies. The manufacture and sale of synthetic fertilizers is big business. it helps in the way these aggregates retain and release plant nutrients.continuous. It helps the soil particles to bond and form soil aggregates. At the use level.5.5-0. compost contains adequate levels of the various mineral nutrients but can be shy of trace elements. • SOIL AMENDMENT TO IMPROVE DRAINAGE: Organic material. This is mostly an issue of semantics. NPK numbers are only half the story. The NPK numbers for a typical compost would be somewhere around 0. The justification was that manures and composts are generally low in their content of mineral nutrients and particularly in terms of the trace elements. in general. helps clay soil to become workable.5-0. • SOIL AMENDMENT TO IMPROVE STRUCTURE: Compost is the organic material of choice to improve soil structure. • NUTRIENT SOURCE FOR THE PLANTS: It is often said that compost is a soil amendment and not a fertilizer. Compost. Trade associations prevailed on a number of State governments to pass legislation that prohibits the sale of manures and composts as "fertilizers". Plant nutrition involves the processing of minerals and other nutrients by the soil organisms.

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

A sample of the saw dust was first collected and tested for its moisture content. ii. 75 .1 Biomass Collection Raw Material used Saw dust. Kaasi.1 BIOMASS COLLECTION AND PREPARTION 3. wood shavings and rice husk. Kumasi in the Ashanti region Ghana.CHAPTER THREE 3.0 METHODOLOGY 3.AG Timbers.1. Source: Saw dust.project site at FABI Rice Husk-Asuanse 3.1.The saw dust was spread on a tarpaulin to dry.2 Drying Procedure i. Wood shavings .

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

glass beaker.Fig 3-3 covered saw dust 3. Pure water is said to be neutral. Distilled water.standards used were pH of 4.0 at 25 °C (77 °F). Standard buffer solutions of known pH values . with a pH close to 7. glass stiffing rod. Apparatus and Materials pH meter. teaspoon or small scoop. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline.1.3 Determination of pH pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution.0. 77 . The pH of the samples used and the char obtained were determined.

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

6 N/B: The moisture content was determined for samples before and after drying them. iii. A sample of the raw materials was put into the crucible and weighed . After every hour. The moisture content was obtained using the relation: Moisture content = loss in weight initial weight M = m 2 − m3 × 100 m2 − m1 ……………. 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).Its mass was then recorded as m2.. 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.

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

Fig3-4 Biochar Reactor 81 .

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

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

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

Fig 3-7 feeding of reactor 85 .

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

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

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

01 6.o C Content.51 7.0 RESULTS 4.7 27.83 10.1 pH and Moisture Content Of Various Raw Materials Moisture Raw Material pH Temperature .83 10.34 28.7 28. pH and moisture content analysis of raw material Mass of raw material= 0.9 29.2g Volume of distilled water used= 12ml Table 4.7 26.8 5.6 6.34 10.6 7.81 26.34 26.34 5.6 89 .1 THE pH AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE RAW MATERIALS USED.8 10.8 28.8 28.59 7.43 7.6 5.84 10.34 10.CHAPTER FOUR 4.6 7.% 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.

59 7.7 26.94 7.82 7.56 7.68 7.74 4.74 7.16 A Wood shavings B1 Wood shavings B2 22kg Wood shavings B3 7.15 26.2 pH and Yield of Biochar Mass of Raw Char Material Used Wood shavings A1 Wood shavings A2 Average Wood shavings 8. o C Yield.6 26.Average Wawa Stain C Odum A1 Odum A2 Average Odum A Odum C1 Odum C2 Average Odum B 10.81 26.94 29.9 8.81 6.4 7.92 90 .5 6.1 29.71 7.88 29.9 27 pH Temperature.58 26.17 8.74 7. % Average Wood shavings 7.8 7.7 29.2 THE PH AND YIELD OF THE CHARRED MATERIAL Table 4.

5 15.55 27.19 8.42 8.8 1.83 10.23 8.74 8.42 10.9 Not properly charred 26.57 8.53 8.2 27.78 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 10.1 16.9 27.83 28.73 8.48 8.41 8.75 8.1 insignificant 27.4 26.83 10.3 91 .1 27.75 28.1 27.76 10.72 10.67 27.74 8.82 10.7 27.34 8.8 29.21 10.7 1.

39 kg of the material was used wood shavings B was 94% charred o C Table 4.5 7 6.226) 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 2.3 Summary of feed and yield of various raw materials Mass of Raw Material/Feed Quantity Fed.00 at 28.Where C* has more ash pH of bio oil from wood shavings =5.67 29. kg Obtained.0 15.9 27.42 Biochar Yield.367 2.5 6.78 16.741g)+ Wawa stain 14 Char(142.0 4.08 26.4 Odum A*.2 4.% 92 . kg Ash(56.09 42 40 properly 1.

2 513.4 temperature reading during pyrolysis of wawa sawdust Time 13:00 13:03 13:05 13:30 13:35 13:40 Ts. o C o Temperature.2 361.6 813.5 385.3 814.9 72.2 741.5 816.7 359. B.6 802.8 607.5 84.8 562.3 Temperature Measurement 4th February. Level C o C o C 807.8 341.Rice husk C 130 59 45.5 571. Time of firing -12:15 PM 15 kg of wawa Table 4.3 779.2 562. Temperature. 2011.8 49. Temperature.8 93 .4 T1 T2 T3 721.38 NB: A. C and D are different samples of the raw material in question 4.3 769.

1 52. 5.9 880. T3. C o Ti.4 233.temperature inside the reactor T1. T5.1 93. C (after feeding) feeding) o Ti. oC T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 1161.7 968.2 85.3 201. 6 respectively as shown in the diagram 94 .oC (after Level Ti. 4.7 98.2 77. C o Ts.5 68.6 827.6 126.2 64.9 89.3 53. 2. T6 are temperatures at levels 1.6 670.3 82.8 145. T2. 3. T4.5 Temperature Reading During Pyrolysis of Wood Shavings Time 11/02/ 11:50 12:00 12:10 12:48 12:58 12:15 Ts .7 101.1 57.3 97.3 87.3 790.3 881.3 83.9th February.7 144.1 92.3 Ts .2 556. C o Ts.6 79.4 86.temperature at the surface of the reactor Ti.2 55. 2011 22 kg of wood shavings Table 4.5 50.6 72.9 70.5 80.

7 261.4 124.3 213.0 412.6 212.7 97.1 115.3 172.6 185.1 205.5 139.8 165.4 Feeding at 15:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 00:00 01:00 02:00 549.4 T3 708.9 227.5 166.3 206.7 100.4 140.1 168.6 318.7 319.2 115.7 169.9 188.6 213.3 174.3 119.4 310.6 140.7 283.2 443.5 139.6 138.0 180.6 138.0 166.8 134.6 355.9 208.4 317.9 T4 516.44 128.4 262.5 224.6 115.7 118.2 192.9 95 .7 317.4 85.9 T5 591.4 92.9 82.5 124.4 185.2 402.1 147.1 140.3 171.8 T6 420.5 128.3 190.4.5 148.8 310.4 83.4 144.2 224.2 137.2 T2 620.3 350.5 265.9 198.2 209.3100.7 243.3 105.1 205.0 255.6 A 48 Hour Temperature monitoring of 24kg Wood shavings(C) Time 14:35 T1 517.

0 186.3 108.4 344.8 250.4 349.8 119.4 88.8 154.2 253.7 157.7 324.8 185.3 230.9 110.8 148.5 256.3 104.8 150.3 140.2 123.6 146.4 87.4 369.8 92.4 107.6 133.5 158.9 80.8 151.1 336.4 140.1 387.5 88.3 141.2 183.0 322.8 405.7 321.7 108.4 161.0 84.8 402.6 351.7 358.6 90.8 152.6 152.9 120.9 219.4 417.8 244.8 249.5 254.1 249.8 150.6 86.2 407.3 316.1 166.3 431.2 105.7 251.8 127.6 265.2 135.4 408.9 371.4 92.5 144.03:00 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 18:00 153.3 110.5 99.2 98.6 111.4 422.9 149.1 87.7 153.1 113.4 167.6 154.4 96 .9 265.0 153.4 368.4 125.5 254.3 174.7 144.3 163.6 93.5 318.8 110.9 79.4 112.5 212.7 357.

5 336.1 87.5 238.5 117.8 408.5 86.1 122.4 78.1 127.2 76.9 96.4 92.6 410.8 106.19:00 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 10:00 132.6 80.3 243.6 364.1 331.6 117.3 104.1 398.5 241.5 111.2 125.4 65.6 74.1 239.4 139.3 103.1 96.9 382.8 112.4 132.4 120.4 65.7 107.0 107.2 332.3 73.2 88.5 373.4 128.1 71.4 406.3 330.7 258.4 251.7 93.1 389.4 427.7 377.9 139.1 65.4 85.5 381.9 128.6 64.3 123.2 362.3 134.9 115.2 114.2 82.4 411.4 136.9 413.1 89.4 410.6 90.1 68.5 112.2 87.9 92.4 75.3 55.3 102.3 374.4 139.7 100.0 377.2 109.2 74.9 94.7 221.3 114.2 89.8 225.2 77.4 103.9 91.0 423.5 338.0 332.4 97 .8 95.2 112.

3 379.1 96.7 120.5 380.2 407.11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 110.3 98.1 355.9 96.5 433.1 95.5 374.2 386.5 433.8 365.1 125.7 99.1 414.7 123.3 96.3 125.9 92.7 98.6 101.2 211.2 94.7 98.2 101.1 98 .9 100.9 90.

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

33 164.7 Chemical Analysis on Some Biochar Types BIOCHAR Rice Husk Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 5.68 2.7 Ca 19.55 ppm K 1945.16 61.68 4. P.91 2.17 1851.09 40.24 1.45 77.35 pH(1:5) ppm P 218.02 11.3 Mg 6.Fig 4-2 A cross section of the reactor shown above.31 7. 4.36 2038.07 K 6. 100 .62 52.4 BIOCHAR ANALYSIS Table 4. Ca and Na are some of the plant nutrients that can be found in biochar.35 10.67 4.28 6.54 5.15 11.58 24.41 Na 2.61 13.76 6.09 1570.45 7.7 NB: K.68 2.82 2202.49 19.49 17. Mg.

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

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

103 . It may also have resulted from the combustion of the sawdust at the time of feeding the reactor.42%. The volume occupied by the saw dust compared to the reactor volume was small. Fig 5-2 Odum sawdust Biochar WAWA STAIN SAWDUST For 14kg of wawa stain sawdust used. This was because of the large amount of smoke and heat that came out of the reactor through the feeder.3. 56. Hence there was accumulation of oxygen at the unoccupied volume of the reactor.741g of ash and 142. The feeding of the reactor with the sawdust took some considerable amount of time. The ash produced may have resulted from the oxygen that may have entered the reactor. This gave a yield of 1.226g of biochar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spiritus-temporis (2005) Thermocouple [online] Available from <http://www.html>[Accessed 2010 November 4] 115 .com/article/fibreglass/fiberglass/plastic/grp/sil ica>.spiritus-temporis.com/principle-of-operation.uaex.html> October 20] 18. The engineering toolbox (2009) Resources.FSA1052. Available from :< http://www. Wikipedia kitcars. (2010).omega. [online].edu> [Accessed 2010 November 8] 17.com/thermocouples-d_496.engineeringtoolbox. United States Department of Agriculture and County Governments Cooperating. University of Arkansas.gefran.com.Fibreglass usage and properties.html>[Accessed 2010 October17] 19.15. Samy Sadaka and A. Omega engineering technical reference (2010) Thermocouple [online] Available from<http:// www.html> [Accessed 2010 October 20] 20.madaboutkitcars.Madabout from: Available <http://www. Tools and Basic Information for Engineering and Design of Technical Applications [online] Available from <http://www. [Accessed 2010 November 10] 16.com/en/tecnologies/tecnology.com/thermocouple.A Boateng (2009): Pyrolysis and Bio-Oil .[online]. Gefran (2006) Thermal technologies [online] Available [Accessed from 2010 <http://www.

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

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

Minor Nutrients Boron Copper Iron Chlorine

Symbols B Cu Fe Cl

117

Manganese Molybdenum Zinc

Mn Mo Zn

Appendix B: Biochar type versus Yield

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

45.38

15.78

16.67

1.42

0

118

Appendix C: pH of some Biochar samples

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

11.35 10.15

Odum sawdust

Wawa sawdust

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

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

119

09 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 1570.82 2202. Amount of Calcium (g) in some Biochar samples 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D 19. Amount of Potassium (ppm) in some Biochar samples 2500 1945.49 19.49 17.3 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 120 .b.36 2038.17 1851.09 40.7 Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust c.58 24.

91 2.d.54 5. Amount of Phosphorus (ppm) in some Biochar samples 250 200 150 100 50 0 218.68 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4.55 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust Wawa sawdust 121 .24 77.45 164.61 13.62 52.33 1. Amount of Magnesium (g) in some Biochar samples 60 50 40 30 20 6.07 Wawa sawdust e.

f.67 10 0 Rice Husks Wood shavings Wood shavings D Odum sawdust 4. Amount of Potassium (g) in some Biochar samples 70 60 50 40 30 20 6.16 61.41 Wawa sawdust 122 .31 7.02 11.

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

124 .

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