Publication | Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals | Potentiale, Bioenergiesysteme, Logistik

Ash Transformation during Single-Pellet Combustion of Agricultural Biomass with a Focus on Potassium and Phosphorus

Published 2021

Citation: Hedayati A, Lindgren R, Skoglund N, Boman C, Kienzl N, Öhman M. Ash Transformation during Single-Pellet Combustion of Agricultural Biomass with a Focus on Potassium and Phosphorus. Energy and Fuels. January 2021. 35(2):1449–1464.

Abstract

In this study, ash transformation and release of critical ash-forming elements during single-pellet combustion of different types of agricultural opportunity fuels were investigated. The work focused on potassium (K) and phosphorus (P). Single pellets of poplar, wheat straw, grass, and wheat grain residues were combusted in a macro-thermogravimetric analysis reactor at three different furnace temperatures (600, 800, and 950 °C). In order to study the transformation of inorganic matters at different stages of the thermal conversion process, the residues were collected before and after full devolatilization, as well as after complete char conversion. The residual char/ash was characterized by scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, inductively coupled plasma, and ion chromatography, and the interpretation of results was supported by thermodynamic equilibrium calculations. During combustion of poplar, representing a Ca–K-rich woody energy crop, the main fraction of K remained in the residual ash primarily in the form of K2Ca(CO3)2 at lower temperatures and in a K–Ca-rich carbonate melt at higher temperatures. Almost all P retained in the ash and was mainly present in the form of hydroxyapatite. For the Si–K-rich agricultural biomass fuels with a minor (wheat straw) or moderate (grass) P content, the main fraction of K remained in the residual ash mostly in K–Ca-rich silicates. In general, almost all P was retained in the residual ash both in K–Ca–P–Si-rich amorphous structures, possibly in phosphosilicate-rich melts, and in crystalline forms as hydroxyapatite, CaKPO4, and calcium phosphate silicate. For the wheat grain, representing a K–P-rich fuel, the main fraction of K and P remained in the residual ash in the form of K–Mg-rich phosphates. The results showed that in general for all studied fuels, the main release of P occurred during the devolatilization stage, while the main release of K occurred during char combustion. Furthermore, less than 20% of P and 35% of K was released at the highest furnace temperature for all fuels.

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