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Title: Removal of introduced inorganic content from chipped forest residues via air classification

Inorganic content in biomass decreases the efficiency of conversion processes, especially thermochemical conversions. The combined concentrations of specific ash forming elements are the primary attributes that cause pine residues to be considered a degraded energy conversion feedstock, as compared to clean pine. Air classification is a potentially effective and economical tool to isolate high inorganic content biomass fractions away from primary feedstock sources to reduce their ash content. In this work, loblolly pine forest residues were air classified into 10 fractions whose ash content and composition were measured. Ash concentrations were highest in the lightest fractions (5.8–8.5 wt%), and in a heavy fraction of the fines (8.9–15.1 wt%). The removal of fractions with high inorganic content resulted in a substantial reduction in the ash content of the remaining biomass in forest thinnings (1.69–1.07 wt%) and logging residues (1.09–0.68 wt%). These high inorganic content fractions from both forest residue types represented less than 7.0 wt% of the total biomass, yet they contained greater than 40% of the ash content by mass. Elemental analysis of the air classified fractions revealed the lightest fractions were comprised of high concentrations of soil elements (silicon, aluminum, iron, sodium, and titanium). However, the elements of biologicalmore » origin including calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, manganese, and phosphorous were evenly distributed throughout all air classified fractions, making them more difficult to isolate into fractions with high mineral concentrations. Under the conditions reported in this study, an economic analysis revealed air classification could be used for ash removal for as little as $2.23 per ton of product biomass. As a result, this study suggests air classification is a potentially attractive technology for the removal of introduced soil minerals from pine forest residues.« less
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0016-2361; PII: S0016236115007917
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 160; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0016-2361
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; thermochemical conversion; biomass feedstocks; biomass quality; inorganic content; ash content; ash forming elements
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1247733