Wood pellets are a form of solid biomass energy and a renewable energy source. In 2015, the new and renewable energy (NRE) portion of wood pellets was 4.6% of the total primary energy in Korea. Wood pellets account for 6.2% of renewable energy consumption in Korea, the equivalent of 824,000 TOE (ton of oil equivalent, 10 million kcal). The burning phases of a wood pellet can be classified into three modes: (1) gasification; (2) flame burning and (3) charcoal burning. At each wood pellet burning mode, the volume and weight of the burning wood pellet can drastically change; these parameters are important to understand the wood pellet burning mechanism. We developed a new method for measuring the volume of a burning wood pellet that involves no contact. To measure the volume of a wood pellet, we take pictures of the wood pellet in each burning mode. The volume of a burning wood pellet can then be calculated by image processing. The difference between the calculation method using image processing and the direct measurement of a burning wood pellet in gasification mode is less than 8.8%. In gasification mode in this research, mass reduction of the wood pellet is 37% and volume reduction of the wood pellet is 7%. Whereas in charcoal burning mode, mass reduction of the wood pellet is 10% and volume reduction of the wood pellet is 41%. By measuring volume using image processing, continuous and non-interruptive volume measurements for various solid fuels are possible and can provide more detailed information for CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis.
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