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Modeling and pilot plant runs of slow biomass pyrolysis in a rotary kiln
Department Chemical Engineering and Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Energy Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8372-4386
Cortus Energy AB.
Cortus Energy AB.
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2017 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 207, p. 123-133Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pyrolysis of biomass in a rotary kiln finds application both as an intermediate step in multistage gasification as well as a process on its own for the production of biochar. In this work, a numerical model for pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass in a rotary kiln is developed. The model is based on a set of conservation equations for mass and energy, combined with independent submodels for the pyrolysis reaction, heat transfer, and granular flow inside the kiln. The pyrolysis reaction is described by a two-step mechanism where biomass decays into gas, char, and tar that subsequently undergo further reactions; the heat transfer model accounts for conduction, convection and radiation inside the kiln; and the granular flow model is described by the well known Saeman model. The model is compared to experimental data obtained from a pilot scale rotary kiln pyrolyzer. In total 9 pilot plant trials at different feed flow rate and different heat supply were run. For moderate heat supplies we found good agreement between the model and the experiments while deviations were seen at high heat supply. Using the model to simulate various operation conditions reveals a strong interplay between heat transfer and granular flow which both are controlled by the kiln rotation speed. Also, the model indicates the importance of heat losses and lays the foundation for scale up calculations and process optimization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 207, p. 123-133
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-64494DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.06.034ISI: 000417229300012Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85021244091OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-64494DiVA, id: diva2:1115037
Conference
8th International Conference on Applied Energy (ICAE2016), Bejing, Oct 8-11, 2016
Note

Konferensartikel i tidskrift

Available from: 2017-06-26 Created: 2017-06-26 Last updated: 2023-09-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Biocarbon for fossil coal replacement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biocarbon for fossil coal replacement
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Biokol for ersättning av fossil kol
Abstract [en]

This research aims to provide a full view of knowledge in charcoal production for fossil coal replacement. Charcoal from biomass is a promising material to replace fossil coal, which is using as heating source or reactant in the industrial sector. Nowadays, charcoal with quality comparable to fossil coal is produced by high-temperature pyrolysis, but efficiency of the production is relatively low due to the trade-off between charcoal property and yield by pyrolysis temperature. Increasing charcoal yield by means of secondary char formation in pyrolysis of large wood particles is the primary method considering in this work. This research has explored increasing efficiency of charcoal production by bio-oil recycling and CO2 purging. These proposed techniques significantly increase concentration and extend residence time of volatiles inside particle of woodchip resulting extra charcoal. Characterization of charcoals implies negligible effect of these methods on charcoal properties such as elemental composition, heating value, morphological structure, and chemical structure. Besides, reactivity of charcoal slightly increased when these methods were applied. A numerical model of pyrolysis in a rotary kiln reactor has been developed to study the effect of design parameters and conditions in reactor scale. The simulation results showed fair prediction of temperature profiles and products distribution along the reactor length. Nonetheless, to deliver full knowledge in charcoal production, further works are planned to be done at the end of this doctoral research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2018
Series
Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757
Keywords
Biomass pyrolysis, charcoal, bio-oil recycling, CO2 utilization, reactivity, rotary drum
National Category
Energy Engineering Chemical Engineering
Research subject
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-71324 (URN)978-91-7790-242-3 (ISBN)978-91-7790-243-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2018-12-11, Lueå University of Technology, Luleå, 10:56 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-25 Created: 2018-10-24 Last updated: 2021-10-24Bibliographically approved
2. Bio-coal for the sustainable industry: A scientific approach to optimizing production, storage, and usages
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bio-coal for the sustainable industry: A scientific approach to optimizing production, storage, and usages
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Bio-coal produced from biomass is a promising material to replace fossil coal in order to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emission from the industrial sector. Bio-coal with quality comparable to that of fossil coal can be produced by high-temperature pyrolysis at ≥500 ºC, but the production efficiency is relatively low due to low bio-coal yield at high pyrolysis temperatures. This trade-off suffers the economic feasibility of bio-coal production. The overall objective of this doctoral thesis is to develop a pyrolysis process that can produce bio-coal for fossil coal replacement in the industrial sector, while maintaining a high process efficiency.   To increase bio-coal yield and process efficiency, secondary char formation during the pyrolysis of thick biomass, for example, woodchips, is the primary method considered in this work. Secondary char formation can be promoted by increasing volatile concentration during pyrolysis and/or extending residence time of volatiles inside the pore structure of wood particles. This study investigated how to increase secondary char formation using bio-oil recycling and CO2 purging. Bio-oil recycling increased bio-coal yield by not only increasing the reactants, but also through the synergetic effect between bio-oil and woodchips upon physical contact. Using CO2 as a purging gas reduced mass diffusion of volatiles inside the pore structure of woodchips, producing extra bio-coal. In addition, the effect of these techniques can be maximized by ensuring good contact between the volatiles and the solid surface using thick particles and slow heating. In parallel, a numerical model of pyrolysis in a rotary kiln reactor was developed to increase the understanding of parameter implementation in pyrolysis reactors. Two important parameters were studied: rotation speed and feeding rate. Rotation speed controlled the solid residence time, while the feeding rate influenced the heat capacity of holdup materials and product distribution.   Bio-coal is prone to self-heating and usually causes spontaneous ignition during production, storage, and transportation, which can lead to losses in the production and health of workers. In this study, self-heating at low temperatures was investigated by using numerical simulations describing the changes in local properties inside different bio-coal containers such as closed metal containers and woven plastic bags. The kinetic parameters of bio-coal were measured and implemented in the model. It was observed that the bio-coal temperature slowly increased from the initial temperature due to the heat released during O2 chemisorption. Thermal runaway occurred in some storage conditions, even at intial bio-coal temperatures of ca. 155 ºC. The simulation results suggest that self-heating can be mitigated by using small and wide particle distribution, limited storage volume, and low ambient temperature. This study also provides the criteria for estimating the cooling demands in bio-coal production processes.   Bio-coal properties are the main challenges for utilizing it as a substitute for fossil coal. Although the elemental composition and heating value of the bio-coal produced in this study are equivalent to those of fossil coal, the reactivity of bio-coal is relatively high. To replace fossil coal in existing industrial processes, bio-coal reactivity is preferred to be similar to that of fossil coal to avoid major process modifications. This thesis has concluded that pyrolysis temperature, heating rate, and biomass feedstock are the major parameters influencing the gasification rate under chemical reaction limitation. It was found that potassium in biomasses increased bio-coal reactivity even at low gasification temperatures such as 800 ºC, while calcium did not play a significant role at temperatures below 1600 ºC. Furthermore, bio-coal reactivity increased only slightly by promoting secondary char formation using the proposed methods. These findings suggest that we can achieve high bio-coal yield, both mass and energy, while maintaining similar fuel properties through pyrolysis with bio-oil recycling and CO2 purging.   In the most industrially relevant applications, the gasification rate is dominated by diffusion mass transfer. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect gasification behavior of bio-coal under these circumstances. At the particle scale, where intraparticle diffusion controls the overall reaction rate, bio-coal particle size was nearly constant until high conversion. This implies that particle size changes should be considered only at high conversion. Meanwhile, large particles exhibit low gasification rate at the particle scale following the Thiele modulus. The contrary result appears at the packed bed scale, where both intraparticle and interparticle diffusions play roles. Large particles increased the gasification rate in packed beds because of the large bed channel size, high void fraction, and low tortuosity. This observation led to an opportunity to minimize the apparent gasification rate in a packed bed by using polydisperse particles, which have a wide particle size distribution. Large particles maximize the intraparticle diffusivity of CO2, while small particles fill the gaps between large particles, thus increasing interparticle diffusivity, which reduces apparent reactivity. This outcome was confirmed experimentally.   By combining the knowledge obtained in this doctoral thesis, an efficient pyrolysis process is proposed to produce bio-coal for a sustainable industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2021
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-84564 (URN)978-91-7790-862-3 (ISBN)978-91-7790-863-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-09-24, E231, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-05-20 Created: 2021-05-20 Last updated: 2021-09-02Bibliographically approved

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