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Project: T142700 #0538-2
 

The major challenge in using agricultural biomass feedstocks as a coal substitute in utility applications is that it either requires special handling and processing equipment, or it is severely limited in the percentage of co-firing possible. The torrefaction process has the ability to improve these properties. Combined with densification, torrefaction can significantly increase the energy density and handling properties of agricultural materials and also make them essentially water-proof. Torrefaction efforts have been mainly directed to woody biomass; agricultural biomass based torrefaction on the other hand has attracted limited attention.

This research program is intended to address the knowledge and understanding gap for the industrial production and use of torrefied agricultural biomass materials by developing and demonstrating the feasibility of producing high quality torrefied densified products using a broad range of agricultural based feedstocks that have suitable characteristics (such as durability, grindability and hydrophobicity) for storage, handling and transportation and suitable fuel specifications for large scale utility applications. This report is a compilation of work carried out to establish the baseline data for densification performance and the handling and storage characteristics of torrefied agricultural biomass. The report provides densification assessment on six torrefied agricultural feedstocks, including the characterization of particle sizing, densification performance analysis in a single pellet die press and a ring die continuous press, and the characterization of handling and storage properties (hydrophobicity and off-gassing).

Keywords:

biomass, agricultural biomass, torrefaction, chemical analyses, physical analyses, ash composition, structural analysis (lignin, hemi-cellulose, cellulose, extractives), densification, binder, durability, hydrophobicity.