Effect of torrefaction on grinding energy requirement for thin wood particle production

Abstract : The second generation biofuels exploits the lignocellulosic materials. The main advantage is to not compete with food chain. In the case of thermochemical means (gasification in an entrained flow reactor followed by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis), a grinding step is necessary to inject particles into the burner. The targeted particle size is about 200µm to reach a total conversion and to improve gas quality. Due to the plastic behaviour of the biomass, this step is strongly energy-consuming. Biomass torrefaction (thermal treatment lower than 300°C) is a way to decrease the grinding energy and to standardize materials (composition and moisture). Contrary to natural wood, torrefied wood has a brittle behaviour and a less mechanical strength. The aim of this study is to investigate the interest of torrefaction on wood grinding energy diminution. The torrefactions were carried out on beech and spruce, in an airtight rotating batch kiln under nitrogen. The effect of torrefaction temperature (160-300°C) and duration (5-60min), on weight loss, grinding energy and powder particles size were examined. The grinding energy was calculated by integration of the electric power of the grinder, which was measured by the means of a wattmeter. A grindability criterion, which took into account both grinding energy (E) and the volume fraction (X) of particles lower than the targeted size (200µm), was defined. Results showed a strong interest of torrefaction on the decrease in energy required for fine wood particle grinding. The grindability criterion could be reduced by 93% for treatments beyond 260°C. However, the global energy balance becomes less favourable. It is necessary to reach a compromise between the consumed energy by torrefaction and the decrease in grinding energy. According to the wood species, an optimum could be established around 10% of weight loss and around 85% of the grindability criterion diminution.
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Alexandre Govin, Vincent Repellin, Mathieu Rolland, Jean-Luc Duplan. Effect of torrefaction on grinding energy requirement for thin wood particle production. XII ° Congrès de la Société Française de Génie des Procédés Pour relever les défis industriels du XXI° siècle A la croisée des Sciences et des Cultures, Oct 2009, Marseille, France. ⟨hal-00462339⟩

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