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Developing a Model to Predict the Torrefaction of Biomass

[+] Author Affiliations
Ryan R. Mahutga, Stephen P. Gent, Michael P. Twedt

South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Paper No. ES2014-6377, pp. V002T04A002; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Volume 2: Economic, Environmental, and Policy Aspects of Alternate Energy; Fuels and Infrastructure, Biofuels and Energy Storage; High Performance Buildings; Solar Buildings, Including Solar Climate Control/Heating/Cooling; Sustainable Cities and Communities, Including Transportation; Thermofluid Analysis of Energy Systems, Including Exergy and Thermoeconomics
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 30–July 2, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4587-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


With increasing fuel costs and more emphasis being placed on sustainable sources of energy, biomass from agricultural residues and energy crops are becoming an increasingly viable value-added resource for the rural economies in United States and throughout the world. Torrefaction, a thermochemical reaction process, is a form of mild-pyrolysis that improves the qualities of biomass feedstocks for use as a fuel similar to charcoal. This research presents a user-centered computational framework to predict the effects of torrefaction of biomass. The reaction model is based on recently developed models for the torrefaction of willow. The basis for this model is a two stage, solid mass loss kinetics reaction where Arrhenius kinetic parameters are estimated based on experimentally obtained TGA data. Utilizing these parameters along with solid product formation equations it is possible to determine the solid mass yield, as well as the yields of the two stages of pseudo-volatiles released during reaction. Chemical species composition of the volatiles is determined from a system of constrained linear equations based on calculated volatile yield data and experimental results. The reaction model is implemented into MATLAB R2012b as a standalone program with a graphical user interface to obtain inputs, and display numeric and graphic results. The overall goal of this model is to provide a guide for improving conversion efficiency of biomass to bio-char.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Biomass



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