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Simultaneous Online Determination of S, Cl, K, Na, Zn, and Pb Release from a Single Particle during Biomass Combustion. Part 2: Results from Test Runs with Spruce and Straw Pellets

Sommersacher, Peter, Kienzl, Norbert, Brunner, Thomas, Obernberger, Ingwald
Energy & Fuels 2016 v.30 no.4 pp. 3428-3440
Picea, aerosols, aluminum, biomass, combustion, gases, lead, oxygen, pellets, potassium, silicon, sodium, softwood, spectrometers, straw, sulfur, superoxide anion, temperature, thermal degradation, zinc
To gain better insight into inorganic element release processes, test runs with a specially designed single particle reactor connected with an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) have been performed. Relevant combustion related parameters such as mass loss during thermal degradation, temperature development of the particle (surface and center), and composition of released gases were recorded. By coupling the reactor to an ICP-MS, time-resolved release profiles of relevant aerosol forming elements (S, Cl, K, Na, Zn, and Pb) were determined. Targeted and controlled interruptions of the experiments (quenching) after a certain time were performed to validate reactor performance and reliability of the measurements. Test runs with softwood and straw pellets (8 mm in diameter and about 20 mm in length) were performed at reactor temperatures of 700, 850, and 1000 °C under oxidizing conditions (5.6 or 4.2 vol % O₂). These test runs have revealed that the release ratios of volatile and semivolatile ash forming elements (S, Cl, K, Na, Zn, and Pb) generally increase as reactor temperatures rise. Moreover, regarding straw, higher Si and Al contents influence the release behavior of K, Na, Zn, and Pb. For K, existing release mechanisms proposed in the literature have been confirmed, and for Na it has been suggested that release mechanisms similar to K prevail. Especially during the starting phase of the experiment, a distinct temperature gradient exists from the surface to the center of the particle. Thus, different conversion phases occur in parallel in different layers of the particle, which has to be considered during the interpretation of the time-resolved release profiles of the main inorganic elements. Furthermore, transport limitations due to the occurrence of molten phases (especially for straw at reactor temperatures of 1000 °C) were obvious and could be directly derived from the online recorded release profiles. The targeted interruption of the ongoing decomposition process (quenching) provided an indication of the validity of the release profiles for S, K, Na, Zn, and Pb. Additionally, these experiments delivered valuable information regarding possible release mechanisms.