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Online determination of potassium and sodium release behaviour during single particle biomass combustion by FES and ICP-MS

Published 2020

Citation: Paulauskas R, Striūgas N, Sadeckas M, Sommersacher P, Retschitzegger S, Kienzl N. Online determination of potassium and sodium release behaviour during single particle biomass combustion by FES and ICP-MS. Science of the Total Environment. 2020;746:141162.

Abstract

This study focuses on the determination of alkali release from wood and straw pellets during combustion. The aim is to expand the knowledge on the K and Na release behaviour and to adopt chemiluminescence-based sensors for online monitoring of alkali detection which can be applied for the prevention of fouling formation in low quality biomass combustion plants. Flame emission spectrometry (FES) was used for optical detection of chemiluminescence spectra of K and Na using optical bandpass filters mounted on an ICCD (Intensified Charge Coupled Device) camera. FES data were verified by additional experiments with a single particle reactor (SPR) coupled with an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). Using both techniques, the release profiles of K and Na during a single pellet combustion at 1000 °C were determined and obtained K* and Na* emission intensities directly correlated with the results from the ICP-MS. It was determined that the emission intensity of alkali radicals depends on alkali concentrations in the samples and K and Na radical emission intensities increase with increasing alkali amounts in the samples. The ICP-MS data revealed that the release of K and Na mainly takes place during the stage of devolatilization. During devolatilization, almost all potassium and sodium are released from wood samples, while only 65–90% of K and 74–90% of Na are released from straw samples. Based on the results, the flame emission spectroscopy technique is capable to fully detect released alkali metals in the gas phase during combustion and proves a possibility to use flame emission sensors for monitoring the release of alkali species from biomass during combustion processes.

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