Commoditization of wet and high ash biomass: wet torrefaction—a review

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

Abstract


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 the variability of intermittent sources as wind and solar energy. Currently,
this role is played 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 a tradable commodity, as is the case with fossil fuels. HTC, also known as wet torrefaction, might help solve
problems that dry torrefaction is incapable of solving. These obstacles are, namely: high ash content, slagging and fouling
properties of biomass (along with corrosion). Also the high moisture content of some types of biomass poses a problem,
since they usually require substantial amounts of heat for drying. This paper reviews current knowledge about a process
that could possibly transform problematic types of biomass into tradable commodities and compares it with other processes
offering similar outcomes.


Keywords


commoditization of biomass, torrefaction, hydrothermal carbonization

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