Characterizing devolatilized wood pellets for fluidized bed applications
We investigated devolatilized wood pellets to characterize their mechanical behavior and their microstructure. The work’s aim is to increase the understanding and modeling capabilities for the application in fluidized bed gasification as a sustainable alternative to generate synthesis gas. Our experiments showed that devolatilized wood pellets are a stable but highly porous and fragile structure. Computed tomographic images of the same pellets before and after devolatilization showed that the existing pore network in raw conditions characterizes the final structure. Along with the pores, the reaction rate likely increases and the pores massively enlarge, and internal cavities are formed. The resulting pore network dominates the mechanical behavior and leads to micro fragmentations already at low static loads or slow dynamic impacts. This results in the creation of fines or breakage already at low impact velocities. For fluidized bed devolatilization, the large-scale open pore network of the biochar pellets allows the penetration of bed material into the pellet leading to an estimated increase in the pellet’s mass of up to 45%. However, an increase in pore size caused by the penetration was not apparent. Due to the pellet’s porous structure, breakage and attrition induced by mechanical stresses are likely to be as or even more important than primary fragmentation caused by the devolatilization process itself in a reactor.
More Funding Information
Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) - DO 2026/5-1 and HE 4526/21-1, and National Natural Science Foundation of China (51761135119).