Characterization and partitioning of the char ash collected after the processing of pine wood chips in a pilot-scale gasification unit
Southern yellow pine wood chips were used as the feedstock for a pilot-scale gasification unit coupled with a 25 kW generator. The pulp-grade wood chips were relatively free of bark and low in ash content. Processing this feedstock yielded a black/sooty by-product that upon combustion in a muffle furnace resulted in an ash content of about 48%. The term "char ash" was coined to account for the two main components of the material, char and ash. The char ash was further analyzed to determine its composition and options for fractionation. Since the ash component is analogous to wood ash obtained by conventional combustion, char ash has the potential to be used in similar applications such as a nutrient source and/or liming agent. Alternative applications may focus on the utilization of the char component whereby simple operations such as suspending the char ash in solvents may afford a means to produce chars with lower ash contents.