Utilizing Torrefaction Process for Efficient Alternative Energy
Torrefaction process is another example of thermo chemical treatment used for converting biomass materials so that alternative energy can be derived. It can be best explained as a simpler pyrolysis of biomass. That is because torrefaction makes use of lower temperature to be able to convert biomass materials to usable energy. The temperature needed is only 200 up to 300 degrees Celsius.
What happens during torrefaction is that the properties in biomass materials are changed through combustion. Torrefaction process improves the quality of biomass materials so that it can be utilized for combustion and gasification.
Torrefaction of biomass should also happen in an atmosphere where there is no oxygen. This kind of set up may be quite difficult to achieve but as developments were made, the process becomes easier too. When the biomass materials are subjected to high heat, partial decomposition occurs especially those materials which are hemi-cellulose like plants and crops. The water and even the superfluous volatiles that are within the biomass materials will be removed.
Once the torrefaction process is done, the end product of it is called torrefied biomass. This is a black material that is solid and dry. This by product is also hydrophobic and CO2 neutral. It can be referred to as bio-coal. On the other hand, smaller torrefied biomass which have been processes and made to look uniform is called torrefied wood pellets.
Torrefied biomass is an efficient biomass fuel because it has better energy density. If compared to sawdust pellets, torrefied biomass has twice more energy. The best thing about it is that it has almost as much energy as coal. Furthermore, it is easier to store and handle.
The bio-coal and torrefied wood pellets can really be a good source of alternative energy and can reduce the demand for non renewable energy source like coal. It is a high quality fuel that is solid and stable so it can be utilized in sustaining power for commercial, residential and even industrial establishments.
Torrefaction technology has to be enhanced and developed further because of the multitude of benefits that can be achieved from it. The by product of torrefaction can be used directly to generate energy. If it will be used for commercial or large scale industries like coal fired power plants, co-firing can be done. This means that bio-coal will significantly reduce the need for coal. It will not only conserve the fast depleting fossil fuels, it will also reduce the overhead costs in powering the plants. For example, the steel factories are among the industries which consume a whole lot of energy. Torrefied biomass has the same amount of energy as coal and this can be utilized by steel factories.
It is not just the big industries which will benefit from the use of torrefied biomass. It is a good fuel for the cooking stoves. There is no difficulty in making it kindle and it is even better to use it compared to charcoal and wood. It can also be utilized for residential heating.