Yield and Production Properties of Wood chips and Particles Torrefied in a Crucible Furnace Retort
Biomass preprocessing by torrefaction improves feedstock consistency and thereby improves the efficiency of biofuels operations, including pyrolysis, gasification, and combustion. A crucible furnace retort was fabricated of sufficient size to handle a commercially available wood chip feedstock. Varying the torrefaction times and temperatures provided an array of samples exhibiting various degrees of thermal degradation. Subsamples of the wood chip feedstock were also dried or ground to smaller particles prior to torrefaction to determine if such pretreatments would affect yields. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic data from the samples. The PCA scores and loadings plot clearly demonstrated the various degrees of polysaccharide degradation for the different torrefaction temperatures used.