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The effect of torrefaction on the chlorine content and heating value of eight woody biomass samples

Keipi, Tiina, Tolvanen, Henrik, Kokko, Lauri, Raiko, Risto
Biomass and bioenergy 2014 v.66 pp. 232-239
Betula, Eucalyptus, biomass, carbon, chlorine, heat, stumps, torrefaction
This study examined and compared the effect of torrefaction on the heating value, elementary composition, and chlorine content of eight woody biomasses. The biomass samples were torrefied in a specially constructed batch reactor at 260 °C for 30, 60, and 90 min. The original biomasses as well as the solid, liquid, and gaseous torrefaction reaction products were analyzed separately. The higher heating values (HHV) of dry samples increased from 19.5–21.0 MJ kg−1 to 21.2–23.2 MJ kg−1 during 60 min of torrefaction. In all samples, the HHV increased 9 % on average. Furthermore, the effect of torrefaction time on the biomass HHV was studied. Measurements showed that after a certain point, increasing the torrefaction time had no effect on the samples' HHV. This optimal torrefaction time varied considerably between the samples. For more reactive biomasses, i.e., birch and aspen, the optimal torrefaction time was close 30 min whereas the HHV of less reactive biomasses, e.g., stumps, increased markedly even after a 60-min torrefaction. Another significant observation was that torrefaction reduced the chlorine content of the biomass samples. The chlorine concentration of the solid product dropped in most samples from the original by half or even as much as 90 %. The highest relative chlorine decrease was observed in the Eucalyptus dunnii sample, which also had the highest chlorine content of all the studied biomasses. The relative carbon content of the biomass samples increased during torrefaction as the average elementary composition changed from CH0.123O0.827 to CH0.105O0.674 after a 60-min torrefaction.