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Pelletization of wood and alternative residual biomass blends for producing industrial quality pellets

AuthorsGarcía Fernández, Roberto ; Gil Matellanes, María Victoria ; Rubiera González, Fernando ; Pevida García, Covadonga
Residual biomass
Industrial pellet
Bulk density
Energy consumption
Issue Date18-Apr-2019
CitationFuel 251: 739-753 (2019)
AbstractPellets for industrial use were produced from blends of pine sawdust (PIN) and alternative residual biomasses in a pilot-scale pelletizer. The effect of the pelletization temperature (T = 50–80 °C) and biomass moisture content (MC = 14–20%) on pine sawdust pellet quality was studied by using response surface methodology (RSM). Pelletization performance was evaluated on the basis of the durability, bulk density, moisture content, lower heating value (LHV), energy density, diameter, length and density of the pellets. From the RSM analysis, a maximum durability value of 99.4% was obtained at T = 80 °C and MC = 16.6%. Under these conditions, all the parameters showed values within the required range of industrial pellet qualities, i.e., a bulk density of 616 kg/m3, a pellet moisture content of 7.6%, a lower heating value (as received) of 18 MJ/kg, a diameter of 6.2 mm and a length of 23.4 mm. Blends of pine sawdust with eleven unconventional biomass samples were then pelletized under the optimum conditions to obtain pellets for industrial use according to the categories of quality defined by ISO 17225-2. Blends of pine sawdust with almond shells (AS) and olive stones (OS) contents of up to 30 wt%, as well as with pine cone leafs (PCL) contents of up to 15 wt%, produced I1 pellets. Blends of pine sawdust with coffee dregs (CD), coffee husks (CH) and grape pomace (GP) proportions of up to 10 wt%, as well as with hazelnut shells (HS), miscanthus (MIS), pine kernel shells (PKS) and switchgrass (SG) contents of up to 15 wt%, and also with a PCL content of between 15 and 30 wt%, generated I3 class pellets. Classification was not possible for cocoa shells (CS) mixed with pine sawdust due to the low bulk density of the pellets. Energy consumption resulting from the pelletization of the blends was evaluated with values ranging from 0.09 to 0.33 kWh/kg, while the pelletization of pine sawdust required 0.18 kWh/kg. The addition of alternative biomass feedstocks to pine sawdust may therefore serve to reduce energy consumption in industrial pelletization.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2019.03.141
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