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Energies 2018, 11(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010025

Impact of Thermal Pretreatment Temperatures on Woody Biomass Chemical Composition, Physical Properties and Microstructure

Department of Energy (DOE), National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236, USA
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Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 23 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Woody Biomass for Bioenergy Production)
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Abstract

Thermal pretreatment of biomass by torrefaction and low temperature pyrolysis has the potential for generating high quality and more suitable fuels. To utilize a model to describe the complex and dynamic changes taking place during these two treatments for process design, optimization and scale-up, detailed data is needed on the property evolution during treatment of well-defined individual biomass particles. The objectives of this study are to investigate the influence of thermal pretreatment temperatures on wood biomass biochemical compositions, physical properties and microstructure. Wild cherry wood was selected as a model biomass and prepared for this study. The well-defined wood particle samples were consecutively heated at 220, 260, 300, 350, 450 and 550 °C for 0.5 h under nitrogen. Untreated and treated samples were characterized for biochemical composition changes (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) by thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA), physical properties (color, dimensions, weight, density and grindablity), chemical property (proximate analysis and heating value) and microstructural changes by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Hemicellulose was mostly decomposed in the samples treated at 260 and 300 °C and resulted in the cell walls weakening resulting in improved grindability. The dimensions of the wood were reduced in all directions and shrinkage increased with increased treatment temperature and weight loss. With increased treatment temperature, losses of weight and volume increased and bulk density decreased. The low temperature pyrolyzed wood samples improved solid fuel property with high fuel ratio, which are close to lignite/bituminous coal. Morphology of the wood remained intact through the treatment range but the cell walls were thinner. These results will improve the understanding of the property changes of the biomass during pretreatment and will help to develop models for process simulation and potential application of the treated biomass. View Full-Text
Keywords: pyrolysis; chemical composition; micro-structure; physical properties; scanning electron microscopy; wood; thermal pretreatment; torrefaction pyrolysis; chemical composition; micro-structure; physical properties; scanning electron microscopy; wood; thermal pretreatment; torrefaction
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Wang, P.; Howard, B.H. Impact of Thermal Pretreatment Temperatures on Woody Biomass Chemical Composition, Physical Properties and Microstructure. Energies 2018, 11, 25.

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