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Biomass combustion for greenhouse carbon dioxide enrichment

Roy, Yves, Lefsrud, Mark, Orsat, Valerie, Filion, Francis, Bouchard, Julien, Nguyen, Quoc, Dion, Louis-Martin, Glover, Antony, Madadian, Edris, Lee, Camilo Perez
Biomass and bioenergy 2014 v.66 pp. 186-196
air, biomass, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide enrichment, climate, combustion, flue gas, greenhouses, heat, heating systems, humans, natural gas, nitrogen oxides, oils, particulates, sulfur dioxide, wood products
Greenhouses in northern climates have a significant heat requirement that is mainly supplied by non-renewable fuels such as heating oil and natural gas. This project's goal was the development of an improved biomass furnace able to recover the heat and the CO2 available in the flue gas and use them in the greenhouse. A flue gas purification system was designed, constructed and installed on the chimney of a wood pellet furnace (SBI Caddy Alterna). The purification system consists of a rigid box air filter (MERV rating 14, 0.3 μm pores) followed by two sets of heating elements and a catalytic converter. The air filter removes the particulates present in the flue gas while the heating elements and catalysers transform the noxious gases into less harmful gases. Gas analysis was sampled at different locations in the system using a TESTO 335 flue gas analyzer. The purification system reduces CO concentrations from 1100 cm3 m−3 to less than 1 cm3 m−3 NOx from 70 to 5.5 cm3 m−3 SO2 from 19 cm3 m−3 to less than 1 cm3 m−3 and trapped particulates down to 0.3 μm with an efficiency greater than 95%. These results are satisfactory since they ensure human and plant safety after dilution into the ambient air of the greenhouse. The recuperation of the flue gas has several obvious benefits since it increases the heat usability per unit biomass and it greatly improves the CO2 recovery of biomass heating systems for the benefit of greenhouse grown plants.