Thermochemical biomass conversion systems have the potential to produce heat, power, fuels and other products from forest biomass at distributed scales that meet the needs of some forest industry facilities. However, many of these systems have not been deployed in this sector and the products they produce from forest biomass have not been adequately described or characterized with regards to chemical properties, possible uses, and markets. This paper characterizes the producer gas, biochar, and activated carbon of a 700 kg h-1 prototype gasification system and a 225 kg h-1 pyrolysis system used to process coniferous sawmill and forest residues. Producer gas from sawmill residues processed with the gasifier had higher energy content than gas from forest residues, with averages of 12.4 MJ m-3 and 9.8 MJ m-3, respectively. Gases from the pyrolysis system averaged 1.3 MJ m-3 for mill residues and 2.5 MJ m-3 for forest residues. Biochars produced have similar particle size distributions and bulk density, but vary in pH and carbon content. Biochars from both systems were successfully activated using steam activation, with resulting BET surface area in the range of commercial activated carbon. Results are discussed in the context of co-locating these systems with forest industry operations.
Anderson, Nathaniel; Jones, J. Greg; Page-Dumroese, Deborah; McCollum, Daniel; Baker, Stephen; Loeffler, Daniel; Chung, Woodam. 2013. A comparison of producer gas, biochar, and activated carbon from two distributed scale thermochemical conversion systems used to process forest biomass. Energies. 6: 164-183.