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Utilization of Wet Forest Biomass as both the Feedstock and Electricity Source for an Integrated Biochar Production System
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org
Citation: Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 34(1): 125-134 . (doi: 10.13031/aea.12404) @2018
Authors: Anthony Eggink, Kyle Palmer, Mark Severy, Dave Carter, Arne Jacobson
Keywords: Biochar, Biomass, Biomass drying, Forest residuals, Gasification, Pyrolysis.
Abstract. A belt dryer and gasifier generator set were integrated into a biochar production plant to use process heat to dry biomass feedstock from forest residuals and to provide electric power to the plant using a side stream of dried biomass. Experiments were conducted to characterize the dryer throughput and drying capacity using process heat from a stack heat exchanger attached to the biochar machine flare. A matrix of tests was conducted at high and low flow rates for both the heat exchanger air flow rate (which varied the temperature and heat input to the dryer) and the residence time of feedstock in the belt dryer. Mean feedstock input moisture during dryer characterization was 45% and the mean moisture after exiting the dryer was 27%. The optimal test condition, providing the greatest water removal rate, was determined to have high air flow rate through the heat exchanger and short dryer residence time. This condition was used to demonstrate the integrated system for an 8-h production day. The integrated system dried incoming feedstock from 36% to 22% with a dryer throughput rate of 495 kg h-1 w.b. and an evaporation rate of 88.8 kg h-1, providing the necessary dry feedstock for the 20-kW gasifier generator set and the biochar machine, which produced 75 kg h-1 of biochar. This system required the operational effort of 0.92 labor hours per production hour. Results from this demonstration indicate that the integrated system provides key benefits in a biochar production operation including greater control of feedstock drying and the ability to operate without an external (non-biomass) source of fuel for electricity generation.
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