The bed agglomeration characteristics during combustion of typical biomass fuels were determined in a bench-scale bubbling fluidized-bed reactor (5 kW) using olivine and quartz sand as bed material. The fuels studied include willow, logging residues, wheat straw, and wheat distiller's dried grain with solubles (wheat DDGS). Bed material samples and agglomerates were analyzed by means of scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), for morphology and elemental composition. Furthermore, bed ash particles were separated by sieving from the bed material samples and analyzed for elemental composition by SEM-EDS and for determination of crystalline phases by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). Chemical equilibrium calculations were performed to interpret the experimental findings of layer formation and reaction tendencies in both bed materials. Significant difference in the agglomeration tendency between olivine and quartz was found during combustion of willow and logging residues. These fuels resulted in inner layers that were more dependent on the bed material composition, and outer layers that have a composition similar to the fuel ash characteristics. The elemental composition of the inner layer formed on the quartz bed particles was dominated by Si, K, and Ca. In the olivine bed, the inner layer consisted mainly of Mg, Si, and Ca. Chemical equilibrium calculations made for both bed materials showed a low chemical driving force for K to react and be retained by the olivine bed particles, which is in accordance to the experimental findings. For the quartz case, the inner layer was found responsible for the initiation of the agglomeration process. The composition of the fewer and more porous agglomerates found after the experiments in the olivine bed showed neck composition and characteristics similar to the individual bed ash particles found in the bed or outer bed particle coating composition. For DDGS (rich in S, P, K, and Mg) and wheat straw (rich in Si and K), no significant differences in the bed agglomeration tendency between olivine and quartz bed materials were found. The results show that the bed particle layer formation and bed agglomeration process were associated to direct adhesion of bed particles by partly molten fuel ash derived K Mg phosphates for DDGS and K-silicates for wheat straw.
Washtington: American Chemical Society (ACS), 2012. Vol. 26, no 7, 4550-4559 p.