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High-temperature rapid devolatilization of biomasses with varying degrees of torrefaction

Li, Jun and Bonvicini, Giorgio and Tognotti, Leonardo and Yang, Weihong and Blasiak, Wlodzimierz (2014) High-temperature rapid devolatilization of biomasses with varying degrees of torrefaction. Fuel, 122. pp. 261-269. ISSN 0016-2361

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Torrefied biomass is a coal-like fuel that can be burned in biomass boilers or co-fired with coal in co-firing furnaces. To make quantitative predictions regarding combustion behavior, devolatilization should be accurately described. In this work, the devolatilization of three torrefied biomasses and their parent material were tested in an isothermal plug flow reactor, which is able to rapidly heat the biomass particles to a maximum temperature of 1400 ºC at a rate of 104 ºC/s, similar to the conditions in actual power plant furnaces. During every devolatilization test, the devolatilized biomass particles were collected and analyzed to determine the weight loss based on the ash tracer method. According to the experimental results, it can be concluded that biomass decreases its reactivity after torrefaction, and the deeper of torrefaction conducted, the lower the biomass reactivity. Furthermore, based on a two-competing-step model, the kinetic parameters were determined by minimizing the difference between the modeled and experimental results based on the least-squares objective function, and the predicted weight losses exhibited a good agreement with experimental data from biomass devolatilization, especially at high temperatures. It was also detected that CO and H2 are the primary components of the released volatile matters from the devolatilization of the three torrefied biomasses, in which CO accounts for approximately 45-60%, and H2 accounts for 20-30% of the total volatile species.