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Session 2A: "Biomass as a Sustainable Feedstock for Solid Fuel"
3:30pm - 4:50pm
Session Chair: Stefan Cenkowski
3:30pm - 3:50pm
Techno-economic feasibility of using recycled polymer plastic in torrefied and pelletized herbaceous biomass
Bagher Emadi1, Lope Tabil1, Xue Li2, Edmund Mupondwa2
1University of Saskatchewan, Canada; 2Saskatoon Research Centre, Canada
Using torrefied herbaceous biomass such as wheat and barley straw as a biofuel has shown promising results to overcome the shortage of raw materials in the wood pellet industry. Using proper type and amounts of additives and binders with torrefied herbaceous biomass (e.g. wheat and barley straws) can increase its combustion efficiency. Technical feasibility in terms of production technique of adding recycled linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) as a binder to torrefied and pelletized herbaceous biomass was investigated. Non-ground wheat and barley straws were torrefied at 250ºC for 15 min. The torrefied biomass was mixed with LLDPE as an additive at four levels (1, 3, 6 and 10%). One minute preheating of biomass using the heating chamber was found to be the best process condition that resulted in the production of pellets with the best quality characteristics. Adding LLDPE showed an increase in density and higher heating value (HHV) of the studied pellets while the ash content decreased. Then effective parameters to consider for economic feasibility of using LLDPE as an additive for torrefied and pelletized herbaceous biomass were investigated.
3:50pm - 4:10pm
Replacing fossil fuels with biomass for heating in the Canadian Prairies: evaluation of costs and biomass supply logistics
Joy Agnew, Patricia Lung, Carrie Gillis
Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute, Canada
There are numerous options for space heating in the Canadian Prairies including natural gas, coal combustion, oil, propane, geothermal, and biomass combustion. Many agricultural producers rely on coal combustion for heating because they are not connected to the natural gas grid and coal is a low-cost heating alternative for small to medium heating loads. However, coal bans and carbon taxes encourage the use of alternative heating sources to reduce society’s reliance on fossil fuels and to limit greenhouse gas emissions. These decisions left agricultural producers with many questions about costs, reliability, and supply chain logistics of alternative fuels.
The Canadian Prairie land base supports the agricultural and forestry industries which generates large quantities of biomass that may be used as an alternative, low carbon heating fuel. However, the logistics and economics surrounding the collection, harvesting, transportation and utilization of the biomass needs to be well understood to evaluate the overall cost of alternative heating systems. A simple logistics calculator developed by the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute was used to determine the cost of acquiring several different types of biomass at different locations in the Prairies. This information was used to compare the total cost of owning and operating different heating options, including an assessment of the effect of carbon taxes and the cost of installing natural gas pipelines on the lowest cost option for small to medium sized heating systems.
4:10pm - 4:30pm
Pelletization of Refuse-Derived Fuel Fluff to Produce High Quality Feedstock
Charley Joanne Sprenger1, Lope G Tabil1, Majid Soleimani1, Joy Agnew2, Amie Harrison2
1University of Saskatchewan, Canada; 2PAMI, Canada
Due to its primarily organic composition municipal solid waste (MSW) is a suitable feedstock for conversion by gasification to produce ethanol. Current technologies process the MSW into refuse-derived fuel (RDF) fluff before conversion. Bench and pilot-scale densification trials were conducted to determine the parameters required to produce a higher quality feedstock from the MSW RDF material in a pellet form. Characterization MSW-RDF fluff sample showed that the composition of the material was approximately 35% paper, 22% plastics, 14% fabrics, 6% organics/wood, and 23% fines by weight. The RDF was densified, as well as the biodegradable (paper and wood) fraction of the RDF stream to compare quality of pellets for the two material compositions. A single pelleting trial was conducted to examine the compaction parameters that would produce high quality pellets: sample material, grind size, moisture content, temperature and pelleting pressure. It was determined that quality pellets, for both materials, were formed at a grind size of 6.35 mm at 16% moisture under pelleting conditions of 90°C and 4000 N applied load. Pilot-scale pelleting was then completed to emulate industry pelleting process utilizing the parameters from the single pelleting operation that were deemed to produce quality pellets. All of the samples produced durable pellets (88-94%), with the ash content around 20% for all samples. Thermochemical analysis quantified the CHNS composition which was used to determine the higher heating value of the pellets. A techno-economic study was conducted to determine the feasibility of a scale-up pelleting operation.
4:30pm - 4:50pm
Durability and combustion values of compacted oat straw biomass with manure binder
Tanner Fontaine, Stefan Cenkowski
University of Manitoba, Canada
Biomass pellets were made from milled oat straw supplemented with manure. Pellets were compressed to 90 MPa. Samples were compressed at a rate of 100 mm/min and mixed to ratios of 0:1, 20:80, 40:60, 60:40, 80:20, and 1:0 of manure to oat straw by mass for the density and strength tests. Three characteristics of the biomass pellets were measured for each ratio set: density of a single pellet, pellet strength (durability), and specific energy. Increasing the manure content up to 40% raised the density of a single pellet from 908 to 1064 kg/m3 while increasing beyond 40 % had a minimal increase to 1074 kg/m3. Manure content was found to be directly proportionate to the strength of the pellets at concentrations of 40 %, after which there was no increase. Increasing the manure concentration from 0 to 20 % caused a 76 % increase in strength, and a further 104 % increase from 20 to 40 %. The pellet samples with manure content of 0 % had the highest specific energy at 15.85 MJ/kg, with the specific energy decreasing linearly to 13.68 MJ/kg as manure content reached 100 %. It was predicted that a 5 percent increase in manure content would cause a decrease of 111.50 kJ/kg in specific energy of the pellets.