(0006) Commoditization of wet and high ash biomass: wet torrefaction ‒ a review

Krzysztof Jerzy Mościcki, Łukasz Niedźwiecki, Paweł Owczarek, Mateusz Wnukowski


Biomass is a non-intermittent energy source, which can play an important role in grid-based energy systems, since they need some non-intermittent sources in order to balance variability of intermittent sources as wind and solar energy. Currently this role is played by mostly by fossil fuels, mainly because of the bulk size of a single source. Higher variability and lower energy concentration among with some properties of biomass are obstacles that prevent it from fully becoming a commodity. There are processes, such as dry torrefaction and hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) that could potentially help in terms of making biomass tradable commodity as it is a case with fossil fuels. HTC, also known as wet torrefaction, might help to solve problems that dry torrefaction is unable of solving. These obstacles are namely high ash content, slagging and fouling properties of biomass (along with corrosion). Also high moisture content of some types of biomass is a problem, since they usually require substantial amounts of heat for drying. This paper reviews current knowledge about fundamentals of the process that could possibly enable problematic types of biomass to become a tradable commodity.


commoditization of biomass, torrefaction, hydrothermal carbonization

Full Text:



R.Sims, The Brilliance of Bioenergy: In Business and Practice, 2002.

“BISYPLAN web-based handbook,” 2012. [Online]. Available: http://bisyplan.bioenarea.eu/html-files-en/. [Accessed 24 december 2014].

Amber Broch, Umakanta Jena , S. Kent Hoekman and Joel Langford, “Analysis of Solid and Aqueous Phase Products from Hydrothermal Carbonisation of Whole and Lipid-Extracted Algae,” Energies, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 62-79, 2014.

Angorro Tri Mursito, Tsuyoshi Hirajima, Keiko Sasaki, “Upgrading and dewatering of raw tropical peat by hydrothermal treament,” Fuel, no. ISSN: 0016-2361, 2009.

A.Funke, F.Ziegler, “Hydrothermal carbonisation of biomass: a summary and discussion of chemical mechanisms for process engineering,” Biofuels Bioproducts and Biorefinig, 2010.

P.C.A.Bergman, J.R.Pels, “Torwash - proof of principle - phase 1,” ECN, , 2006.

Wei Yan, T.C.Acharjee, C.J.Coronella, V.R.Vasquez, “Thermal pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass,” Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy, no. ISSN: 1944-7450, 2009.

A.Kruse, A.Funke, M.M.Titirici, “Hydrothermal conversion of biomass to fuels and energetic materials,” Current opinion in chemical biology, no. ISSN: 1367-5931, 2013.

A.Funke, F.Zielgler, “Heat of reaction measurement for hydrothermal carbonisation of biomass,” Bioresource technology, no. ISSN: 0960-8524, 2011.

Wei Yan, J.T.Hstings, T.C.Acharjee, C.J.Coronella, V.R.Vasquez, “Mass and energy balances of wet torrefaction of lignocellulosic biomass,” Energy and fuels, no. ISSN: 1520-5029, 2010.

M.T. Reza, Wei Yan, M.H.Uddin, J.G.Lynam, S.K.Hoekman, C.J.Coronella, V.R.Vasquez, “Reaction kinetics of hydrothermal carbonisation of loblolly pine,” Bioresource technology, no. ISSN: 0960-8524, 2013.

Hector A. Ruiz, Rosa M. Rodriguez-Jasso, Bruno D. Fernandes, Antonio A. Vicente, Jose A. Teixeira, “Hydrothermal processing as an alternative for upgrading agriculture residues and marine biomass according to the biorefinery concept: A review,” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 21, pp. 35-51, 2013.

M.Toufiq Reza, Janet Andert, Benjamin Wirth, Daniela Bush, Judith Pielert, Joan G. Lynam, Jan Mumme, “Hydrothermal Carbonization of Biomass for Energy and Crop Production,” Applied Bioenergy, vol. 1, pp. 11-29, 2014.

M.Sevilla, M.M.Titirici, “Hydrothermal carbonization: a greener route towards the synthesis of advanced carbon materials,” Boletín del Grupo Español del Carbón, vol. 25, pp. 7-17, 2012.

Stephen Glen Allen, Lance Cameron Kam, Andreas Joseph Zemann Michael Jerry Antal, “Fractionation of Sugar Cane with Hot, Compressed, Liquid Water,” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 2709-2715, 1996.

J.Koppejan, S.van Loo, The Handbook of Biomass Combustion and Co-firing, 2008.

Lei Deng, Tao Zhang, Defu Che, “Effect of water washing on fuel properties, pyrolysis and combustion characteristics, and ash fusibility of biomass,” Fuel Processing Technology, vol. 106, pp. 712-720, 2013.

J.Koppejan, S.Sokhansanj, S.Mellin, S.Mandrali, “Status overview of torrefaction technologies,” International Energy Agency, 2012.

Krzysztof Jerzy Mościcki, Łukasz Niedźwiecki, Paweł Owczarek, Mateusz Wnukowski , “Commoditization of biomass: dry torrefaction and pelletization ‒ a review,” Journal of power technologies, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 233 - 249, 2014.

M. W. Arthur M. Shulenberger, “Device and method for conversion of biomass to biofuel”. USA Patent US 20100101141 A1, 2010.

R.A.Walton, B.G. van Bommel, A Complete and Comprehensive Overview of Torrefaction Technologies, 2010.

B.Wirth, J.Mumme, “Anaerobic digestion of Waste Water from Hydrothermal Carbonisation of Corn Silage,” Applied Bioenergy, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-10, 2013.

A.Funke, J.Mumme, M.Koon, M.Diakite, “CAscade production of biogas and hydrochar from wheat straw: Energetic potential and recovery of carbon and plant nutrients,” Biomass and Bioenergy, vol. 58, pp. 229-237, 2013.

Ivo Oliveira, Dennis Blohse, Hans-Gunter Ramke, “Hydrothermal carbonization of agricultral residues,” Bioresource Technology, vol. 142, pp. 138-146, 2013.

Axel Funke, Felix Reebs, Andreas Kruse, “Experimental comparison of hydrothermal and vapothermal carbonisation,” Fuel Processing Technology, vol. 115, pp. 261-269, 2013.

Maria-Magdalena titirici, Arne Thomas, Markus Antonietti, “Back in the black: hydrothermal carbonization of plant material as an efficient chemical process to treat the CO2 problem?,” New Journal of Chemistry, vol. 31, pp. 787-789, 2007.

Sheng Chang, Zengli Zhao, Anqing Zheng, Xiaoming Li, Xiaobo Wang, Zhen Huang, Fang He, Haibin Li, “Effect of hydrothermal pretreatment on properties of bio-oil produced from fast pyrolysis of eucalyptus wood in a fluidized bed reactor,” Bioresource technology, vol. 138, pp. 321-328, 2013.

M.T.Reza, J.G.Lynam, M.H.Uddin, C.J.Coronella, “Hydrothermal carbonisation: fate of incorganics,” Biomass and Bioenergy, no. ISSN: 0961-9534, 2013.

J.E.White, W.J.Catallo, B.L.Legendre, “Biomass pyrolysis kinetics: A comparative critical review with relevant agricultural residue case studies,” Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, vol. 91, no. 1, pp. 1 - 33, 2011.

J.Stemann, A.Pushew, F.Ziegler, “Hydrothermal carbonization: process water characterization and effects of water recirculation,” Bioresource Technology, no. ISNN: 0960-8524, 2013.

S. Kent Hoekman, A.Broch, C.Robbins, B.Zielinska, L.Felix, “Hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) of selected woody and herbaceous biomass feedstock,” Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 113-126, 2013.

M.Helal Uddin, M.Toufiq Reza, J.G.Lynam, C.J.Coronella, “Effects of Water Recycling in Hydrothermal Carbonisation of Loblolly Pine,” Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy, vol. 33, no. December, p. 1309–1315, 2014.

Werner Tilrer, Albino Basso, “Resembling a "natural formation pattern" of chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins by varying the experimental conditions of hydrothermal carbonisation,” Chemosphere, vol. 93, pp. 1464-1470, 2013.

Xiaowei Lu, Beth Jordan, Nicole D. Berge, “Thermal conversion of municipal solid waste via hydrothermal carbonisation: Comparison of carbonization products from current waste management techniques,” Waste management, vol. 32, pp. 1353-1365, 2012.

Nicole D. Berge, Kyoung S. Ro, Jingdong Mao, Joseph R. V. Flora, Mark A. Chappell, Sunyoung Bae, “Hydrothermal Carbonisation of Municipal Waste Streams,” Environmental Science&Technology, vol. 45, no. 13, p. 5696–5703, 2011.

Chao He, Apostolos Giannis, Jing-Yuan Wang, “Conversion of sewage sludge to clean solid fuel using hydrothermal carbonisation: Hydrochar fuel characteristics and combustion behaviour,” Applied Energy, vol. 111, pp. 257-266, 2013.

Xiaowei Lua, Perry J. Pellechia, Joseph R.V. Flora, Nicole D. Berge, “Influence of reaction time and temperature on product formation and characteristics associated with the hydrothermal carbonisation of cellulose,” Bioresource Technology, vol. 138, no. July, p. 180–190, 2013.


  • There are currently no refbacks.