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Optimizing Quality of Wood Pellets Made of Hardwood Processing Residues

1
Centre de Recherche sur les Matériaux Renouvelables, Département des Sciences du bois et de la forêt, Université Laval, 2425 rue de la Terrasse, Pavillon Gene-H.-Kruger, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
2
Direction de la Recherche Forestière, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, 2700 Rue Einstein, Bureau B.1.145, Québec, QC G1P 3W8, Canada
3
Chaire Industrielle de Recherche du CRSNG sur la Construction écoresponsable en bois, 2425 rue de la Terrasse, Pavillon Gene-H.-Kruger, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
4
Centre Eau Terre Environnement, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, 490 Rue de la Couronne, Québec, QC G1K 9A9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(7), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070607
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 16 July 2019 / Accepted: 19 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supply Chain Optimization for Biomass and Biofuels)
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Abstract

Small-scale wood pellet producers often use a trial-and-error approach for determining adequate blending of available wood processing residues and pelletizing parameters. Developing general guidelines for optimizing wood pellet quality and meeting market standards would facilitate their market entry and profitability. Four types of hardwood residues, including green wood chips, dry shavings, and solid and engineered wood sawdust, were investigated to determine the optimum blends of feedstocks and pelletizing conditions to produce pellets with low friction force, high density and high mechanical strength. The feedstock properties reported in this study included particle size distribution, wood moisture content, bulk density, ash content, calorific values, hemicelluloses, lignin, cellulose, extractives, ash major and minor elements, and carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. All residues tested could potentially be used for wood pellet production. However, high concentrations of metals, such as aluminum, could restrict their use for accessing markets for high-quality pellets. Feedstock moisture content and composition (controlled by the proportions of the various residue sources within blends) were the most important parameters that determined pellet quality, with pelletizing process parameters having less overall influence. Residue blends with a moisture content of 9%–13.5% (dry basis), composed of 25%–50% of sawdust generated by sawing of wood pieces and a portion of green chips generated by trimming of green wood, when combined with a compressive force of 2000 N or more during pelletizing, provided optimum results in terms of minimizing friction and increasing pellet density and mechanical strength. Developing formal relationships between the type of process that generates residues, the properties of residues hence generated, and the quality of wood pellets can contribute to optimize pellet production methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: wood processing residues; hardwoods; pellet production; residue characterization; pelletizing process parameters; moisture content wood processing residues; hardwoods; pellet production; residue characterization; pelletizing process parameters; moisture content
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Thiffault, E.; Barrette, J.; Blanchet, P.; Nguyen, Q.N.; Adjalle, K. Optimizing Quality of Wood Pellets Made of Hardwood Processing Residues. Forests 2019, 10, 607.

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