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Biochar as a fuel: 4. Emission behavior and characteristics of PM1 and PM10 from the combustion of pulverized biochar in a drop-tube furnace

Gao, X.ORCID: 0000-0003-2491-8169 and Wu, H. (2011) Biochar as a fuel: 4. Emission behavior and characteristics of PM1 and PM10 from the combustion of pulverized biochar in a drop-tube furnace. Energy & Fuels, 25 (6). pp. 2702-2710.

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Six biochar samples were produced from both slow and fast pyrolysis of mallee bark at 400–550 °C, respectively; such temperatures are typically used for biochar and/or bio-oil production in practice. Under the pyrolysis conditions, the biochar yields range from 26.7 to 37.0% and the majority (78.5–100.0%) of alkali and alkaline earth metallic (AAEM) species (mainly Na, K, Mg, and Ca) in biomass are retained in the biochars, while the retention of Cl in biochars is only 2.0–33.4%. The raw biomass and its derived biochar samples were then combusted in a laboratory-scale drop-tube furnace (DTF) at 1300 °C to investigate the emission behavior and characteristics of sub-micrometer particulate matter (PM1) and PM with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10.0 μm (PM10). The particle size distribution (PSD) of PM10 from raw biomass combustion has a bimodal size distribution, while the PSDs of PM10 from biochar combustion generally show a unimodal distribution. Although most inorganic species are retained in the biochar during pyrolysis, it is interesting to note that the combustion of biochars leads to a substantial reduction in the emission of PM1 (and the mass of Na, K, and Cl in PM1) that dominantly consists of PM with a size less than 0.1 μm (PM0.1) in comparison to biomass combustion, apparently because of the removal of volatiles and Cl from the raw biomass during pyrolysis for biochar preparation. The results imply that the combustion of volatiles (including the released inorganic species), which is particularly important during biomass combustion, is mainly responsible for PM1 emission. Meanwhile, considerable increases in the emission of coarser particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter between 1 and 10 μm (PM1−10) and the mass of Mg and Ca in PM1−10 are also evident during biochar combustion, most likely as a result of more porous structure and increased ash loading of biochars.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Copyright: © 2011 American Chemical Society
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