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Productivity and cost analysis of a mobile pyrolysis system deployed to convert mill residues into biochar


Chung, Woodam; Kim, Dongyeob; Anderson, Nathaniel. 2012. Productivity and cost analysis of a mobile pyrolysis system deployed to convert mill residues into biochar. In: Roise, Joe, comp. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Council on Forest Engineering: Engineering New Solutions for Energy Supply and Demand; September 9-12, 2012; New Bern, NC. Morgantown, WV: Council on Forest Engineering. Online: http://web1.cnre.vt.edu/forestry/cofe/documents/2012/1425_Chung_W-COFE2012.pdf

Forest and mill residues are a promising source of biomass feedstock for the production of bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts. However, high costs of transportation and handling of feedstock often make utilization of forest residues, such as logging slash, financially unviable. As a result, these materials are often considered waste and left on site to decompose or pile-burned to reduce wildfire risk and open space for regeneration. As an alternative, in-wood processing of forest biomass with a small scale, mobile biomass conversion unit that can be deployed near the source of feedstock would generate a marketable, higher density product that could be shipped off site. However, private investment in these technologies is driven primarily by financial performance, which is often unknown for new technologies with limited deployment in the forest sector. In this study, we used commercially available characterize the conversion rate and system productivity and costs of the system. As a first step prior to deploying the system for in-wood applications, we deployed the system at a sawmill to convert mill residues into biochar. Our financial analysis reveals that the mobile pyrolysis system has the potential to enhance the economic value of forest residues, but financial performance is sensitive to a range of different operational variables, including system productivity and biochar conversion rate.

Keywords: biochar, pyrolysis, woody biomass, mill residues


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Productivity and cost analysis of a mobile pyrolysis system deployed to convert mill residues into biochar
Electronic Publish Date: September 26, 2013
Last Update:
September 26, 2013

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