Considerations on factors affecting biocarbon densification behavior based on a multiparameter model
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The optimization of upscaled biochar pelleting is limited by lack of knowledge regarding the effects of process parameters. A multiparameter model, coupled to a single pellet press unit, was for the first time applied to biochar production to predict the upscaled biochar pelleting process behavior. The model permits to estimate in a time and cost-effective way how the die friction forces, quantified through the pellet exiting pressure, are affected by the key process parameters. It was observed that to achieve acceptably low exiting pressures (in the order of 100 MPa), it was critical to produce biochar at high temperatures (e.g. 600 °C). Addition of water as a binder is also beneficial, while pelletization temperature does not significantly affect the exiting pressure. Furthermore, when pyrolysis oil was used as a binder, lower exiting pressures were measured. Biochar returned higher exiting pressure values compared with untreated wood, but lower compared with torrefied wood. Moreover, the correlation between density and compressive strength was also examined. It was found that the exiting pressure trend is a good indicator to estimate the mechanical quality of the pellets.