Ash chemistry and fuel design focusing on combustion of phosphorus-rich biomass

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: Biomass is increasingly used as a feedstock in global energy production. This may present operational challenges in energy conversion processes which are related to the inorganic content of these biomasses. As a larger variety of biomass is used the need for a basic understanding of ash transformation reactions becomes increasingly important. This is not only to reduce operational problems but also to facilitate the use of ash as a nutrient source for new biomass production.Ash transformation reactions were examined in the present work using the Lewis acid-base concept. The model presented in Paper I was further extended and discussed, including the definition of tertiary ash transformation reactions as reaction steps where negatively charged molecular ions, Lewis bases, other than hydroxides are present in the reactants. The effect of such reactions for bonding of various metal ions, Lewis acids, were discussed. It was found that the formation of various phosphates through secondary and tertiary ash transformation reactions is important for the behaviour of biomass ash in combustion. The suggested model was supported by findings in Papers II-VIII.The experimental findings in Papers II-VIII were discussed in terms of ash transformation reactions. The fuel design choices made to investigate the effect of phosphorus in particular on ash transformation reactions were high-lighted. Addition of phosphoric acid to woody-type and agricultural biomasses showed that phosphate formation has a large influence on the speciation of Si, S, and Cl. Co-combustion of a problematic agricultural residue with other biomasses showed that the relation between phosphorus, alkali and alkaline earth metal content is important. Co-combustion of biosolids with wheat straw was shown to greatly improve the combustion properties of wheat straw.It was suggested that fuel analyses should be presented using molar concentration (mole/kg) in diagrams based on ash transformation reactions and elements forming Lewis acids or bases. This may facilitate the assessment of the combustion behaviour of a fuel. Some comments were made on fuel design and additives, specifically pointing out that phosphorus content should always be carefully considered in relation to alkali and alkaline earth metals in fuels and fuel blends.