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Energies 2017, 10(4), 502;

Dielectric Properties of Biomass/Biochar Mixtures at Microwave Frequencies

Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Louisiana State University, 149 E. B. Doran, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
College of Engineering, University of Georgia, 597 D. W. Brooks Dr., Athens, GA 30602, USA
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Russell Research Center, 950 College Station Rd., Athens, GA 30605, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mejdi Jeguirim
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 30 March 2017 / Accepted: 4 April 2017 / Published: 9 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Chars: Elaboration, Characterization and Applications)
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Material dielectric properties are important for understanding their response to microwaves. Carbonaceous materials are considered good microwave absorbers and can be mixed with dry biomasses, which are otherwise low-loss materials, to improve the heating efficiency of biomass feedstocks. In this study, dielectric properties of pulverized biomass and biochar mixtures are presented from 0.5 GHz to 20 GHz at room temperature. An open-ended coaxial-line dielectric probe and vector network analyzer were used to measure dielectric constant and dielectric loss factor. Results show a quadratic increase of dielectric constant and dielectric loss with increasing biochar content. In measurements on biochar, a strong dielectric relaxation is observed at 8 GHz as indicated by a peak in dielectric loss factor at that frequency. Biochar is found to be a good microwave absorber and mixtures of biomass and biochar can be utilized to increase microwave heating rates for high temperature microwave processing of biomass feedstocks. These data can be utilized for design, scale-up and simulation of microwave heating processes of biomass, biochar, and their mixtures. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; biomass properties; microwave applications; dielectric properties; bioenergy biochar; biomass properties; microwave applications; dielectric properties; bioenergy

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Ellison, C.; McKeown, M.S.; Trabelsi, S.; Boldor, D. Dielectric Properties of Biomass/Biochar Mixtures at Microwave Frequencies. Energies 2017, 10, 502.

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