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An investigation of the grindability of two torrefied energy crops

Bridgeman, TG, Jones, JM, Williams, A and Waldron, DJ (2010) An investigation of the grindability of two torrefied energy crops. Fuel, 89 (12). 3911 - 3918 . ISSN 0016-2361


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The process of torrefaction alters the physical properties of biomass, reducing its fibrous tenacious nature. This could allow increased rates of co-milling and therefore co-firing in coal fired power stations, which in turn would enable a reduction in the amount of coal used and an increase in the use of sustainable fuels, without the need for additional plant. This paper presents an experimental investigation of the pulverisation behaviour of two torrefied energy crops, namely: willow and Miscanthus. A multifactorial method approach was adopted to investigate the three process parameters of temperature, residence time and particle size, producing fuels treated using four different torrefaction conditions. The untreated and torrefied fuels were subjected to standard fuel analysis techniques including ultimate analysis, proximate analysis and calorific value determination. The grindability of these fuels was then determined using a laboratory ball mill and by adapting the Hardgrove Grindability Index (HGI) test for hard coals. After grinding, two sets of results were obtained. Firstly a determination similar to the HGI test was made, measuring the proportion of sample passing through a 75 mu m sieve and plotting this on a calibrated HGI chart determined using four standard reference coals of known HGI values. Secondly the particle size distributions of the entire ground sample were measured and compared with the four standard reference coals. The standard fuel tests revealed that temperature was the most significant parameter in terms of mass loss, changes in elemental composition and energy content increase. The first grindability test results found that the untreated fuels and fuels treated at low temperatures showed very poor grindability behaviour. However, more severe torrefaction conditions caused the fuels to exhibit similar pulverisation properties as coals with low HGI values. Miscanthus was found to have a higher HGI value than willow. On examining the particle size distributions it was found that the particle size distributions of torrefied Miscanthus differed significantly from the untreated biomass and had comparable profiles to those of the standard reference coals with which they had similar HGI values. However, only the torrefied willow produced at the most severe conditions investigated exhibited this behaviour, and the HGI of torrefied willow was not generally a reliable indicator of grindability performance for this energy crop. Overall it was concluded that torrefied biomass can be successfully pulverised and that torrefied Miscanthus was easier to grind than torrefied willow.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2010 Elsevier B.V. This is an author produced version of a paper subsequently published in Fuel. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Biomass, Energy crops, Torrefaction, Thermal pre-treatment, Grindability, Torrefaction, Grass, Fuel
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Chemical & Process Engineering (Leeds) > Energy Research Institute (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2011 09:11
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 16:28
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2010.06.043
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier Science Ltd
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.fuel.2010.06.043
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43115

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