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ECN publication
The role of lignin in the densification of torrefied wood in relation to the final product properties
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass & Energy Efficiency 31-5-2017
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-W--17-011 Article (scientific)
Number of pages:

Published in: Biomass & Bioenergy (Elsevier), , 2017, Vol., p.-.

Biomass properties can be improved for heat and power applications through combined torrefaction and pelleting. Good pellet quality in terms of durability, density, moisture absorption, ?nes production and heating value paired with a low power consumption in the pellet mill render the densi?cation process of torre?ed materials challenging. The aim of this study is to identify the lignin components/intermediates and the corresponding mechanisms during torrefaction of wood that play a role in pelleting behaviour and pellet quality. The importance of lignin lies in its ability to act as a natural binder during densi?cation. Structural differences caused by torrefaction of spruce and poplar (270 C, 32e45 min) were studied by using NMR and TD-GC/MS as well as by pressing single pellets. Spruce chips were torre?ed (280 C, 35-45 min) and conditioned in steam in a pilot plant. The products were ground on a 4-mm sieve and densi?ed in a single-pellet press, where differences in the measured responses were explained on basis of their lignin properties. The lignin was isolated from the spruce samples by organosolv fractionation and characterised in terms of amount, molecular weight distribution (SEC) and glass-transition temperature(DSC). The results of the tests and analyses indicate that torre?ed softwood should be densi?ed immediately after production. Furthermore, pellet quality of the torre?ed material was found to depend on the binding ability of its lignin in the presence of moisture during densi?cation. Additionally, storage of torre?ed spruce prior to densi?cation causes reduced binding ability of its lignin leading to pellets of lower quality.

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