Torrefaction of residues and by-products from sunflower chain
AbstractThe high heterogeneity of some residual biomasses makes rather difficult their energy use and standardisation is a key aspect for these fuel products. Torrefaction is an interesting process used to improve the quality of ligno-cellulosic biomasses and to achieve standardisation. In the present study torrefaction has been employed on residues and by-products deriving from sunflower production chain, in particular sunflower stalks and oil press cake. The thermal behaviour of materials has been studied at first by thermo-gravimetric analysis in order to identify torrefaction temperatures range. Different residence time and torrefaction temperatures have been employed in a bench top torrefaction reactor afterwards. Analyses of raw and torrefied materials have been carried out to assess the influence of the process. As a consequence of torrefaction, the carbon and ash contents increase while the volatilisation range is reduced making the material more stable and standardised. Mass yield, energy yield and energy densification reach values of about 60 %, 80 % and 1.33 for sunflower stalks and 64 %, 85 % and 1.33 for sunflower oil press cake respectively. As highlighted by results, torrefaction is more interesting for sunflower stalks than oil cake and husks because of the different starting characteristics. Untreated oil cake and husks already show a good high heating value and the eventual torrefaction should be mild. On the contrary for sunflower stalks the process is more useful and could be more severe.
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