Torrefaction kinetics of red oak (Quercus rubra) in a fluidized reactor

BioResources 8:4 (2013) 5067-5082.


Different kinetic models have been proposed to characterize torrefaction of biomass, demonstrating dependencies on the raw material, experimental system, reaction time, and temperature. Conventionally, stationary processes have been used for kinetics studies of the torrefaction process. In this research, the torrefaction of red oak (Quercus rubra) in a bench-scale fluidized reactor was studied with emphasis on determining the kinetic parameters and improving the final material energy density. Mass loss and ultimate, proximate, and gross calorific analyses were performed on the resulting torrefied material. The primary reaction variables were the temperature (230°C, 270°C, 300°C, and 330°C) and the residence time (10 min, 20 min, and 30 min). The effect of temperature on the mass loss and energy density was much more significant than that produced by the increase in residence time. For the conditions studied, a one-step kinetic model with a first-order reaction proved adequate to describe the torrefaction of red oak in the fluidized reactor. The reaction rate constant (k) for the torrefaction reaction was found to be 0.212 min-1 at 300°C. The activation energy and frequency factor were 11.9 kJ/mol and 2.57 min-1, respectively.

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