Effect of torrefaction on physiochemical characteristics and grindability of stem wood, stump and bark
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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In this work, Norway spruce stem wood, stump and bark were torrefied in a bench scale tubular reactor at 225, 275 and 300 °C with two residence times (30 and 60 min). Effect of torrefaction on general properties, chemical composition, grindability and microstructure and morphology of biomass samples were studied. An increase in heating value and fixed carbon content of the torrefied biomass was observed for increasing torrefaction temperature and residence time. Chemical compositions of torrefied biomass samples considerably changed with increase of torrefaction severity. For the stem wood and stump, the relative hemicellulose content significantly decreased from respectively 42.3% and 29.8% to less than 1% after torrefaction at 300 °C for 60 min. The hemicellulose content of untreated bark decreased from 27.5% to 0.14% after torrefaction at the same conditions. Additionally, the cellulose content of the torrefied bark drastically decreased already to half the initial value at a torrefaction temperature of 275 °C, with only trace amounts left in the 300 °C torrefied products. The grindability of stem wood and stump were substantially improved after torrefaction treatment. The energy required for grinding stem wood and stump torrefied at 225 °C decreased to respectively 87 and 70 kWh/ton, which are less than 50% of the energy needed for grinding the untreated samples. For raw bark, much less grinding energy is required compared to those for raw stem wood and stump, and torrefaction has minor effects on the grindability of bark. The ground torrefied biomass samples have much smaller particles than those of the untreated ones. SEM analysis results show that particles from ground torrefied samples lose their fibrous structure with decrease of length-to-diameter ratios, compared to untreated biomass samples. It explains the shift in particle size distribution curves towards smaller particles as obtained from the sieving tests.