Engineering HDR Seminar Series 3_2011: Pre-treatment of Local Biomass for Higher Energy Recovery and Process Stability during Gasification and Combustion

Ms Chew Jiuan Jing, CSPE postgraduate student

Date: 2011-04-28
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Venue: Meeting room 1, 5-4-22, School of Engineering


In this research work, a pre-treatment process known as torrefaction is proposed to upgrade the oil palm biomass quality for EFB, mesocarp and palm shell. Promising outcome from the woody and herbaceous biomass torrefaction has lead to the gradual shift of torrefaction technology into commercial development. Palm based biomass subjected to varying torrefaction temperature and residence time underwent an improvement up to 20% in calorific value. Effect of torrefaction temperature is more significant compared to the residence time in term of the mass loss of solid products. Across all three biomass types, elemental ratios of biomass shifts towards lignite coal samples on Van Krevelen diagram as torrefaction condition intensifies. In the study, oil palm biomass attains hydrophobic property and moisture content of torrefied biomass can generally be maintained around 5%. Significant improvement in grindability is attained for EFB and mesocarp. Solid product acidity is reduced after thermal treatment, consistent with the reduced hydrogen content in elemental analysis. The shift in pH of the solid relates to the generation of acidic bio-liquid by product. Chromatographic analysis of bio-liquid indicates majorly the presence of organic group ketones, aldehydes and carboxylic acids. Pellets derived from densified torrefied palm wastes are averagely 12% lower in particle density compared to standard biomass pellets however the diametrical swelling are relatively low denote reduced moisture uptake. Preliminary result suggests torrefied palm waste potential as solid biofuel. Proposed research scope will incorporate further examination of the solid and liquid products as well as product densification. In the later stage, kinetic study as well as process feasibility will be undertaken.

About the Speaker

Chew Jiuan Jing joined School of Engineering as a full-time postgraduate student in May, 2010. She is currently pursuing Masters of Engineering Science (Research) under the supervision of Dr Veena Doshi and co-supervised by Associate Professor Sankar Bhattacharya (MUA). Her project is on pre-treatment of local biomass for higher energy recovery and process stability during gasification and combustion. This research project is falls under Chemical and Sustainable Process Engineering Research Strength and the seminar is organized as part of the Faculty’s requirement for candidature conversion from Masters to PhD.