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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Combustion and fuel characterisation of wheat distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) and possible combustion applications

Eriksson, Gunnar; Grimm, Alejandro; Skoglund, Nils; Boström, Dan; Öhman, Marcus


The present transition to a sustainable global energy system requires that biomass is increasingly combusted for heat and power production. Agricultural fuels considered include alkali-rich fuels with high phosphorus content. One such fuel is wheat distiller's dried grain with solubles (wheat DDGS) from wheat-based ethanol production. Further increases in ethanol production may saturate the current market for wheat DDGS as livestock feed, and fuel uses are therefore considered. Fuel properties of wheat DDGS have been determined. The ash content (5.4 +/- 1.6 %(wt d.s.)) is similar to many agricultural fuels. In comparison to most other biomass fuels the sulphur content is high (0.538 +/- 0.232 %(wt d.s.)), and so are the contents of nitrogen (5.1 +/- 0.6 %(wt d.s.)), phosphorus (0.960. +/- 0.073 %(wt d.s.)) and potassium (1.30 +/- 0.35 %(wt d.s.)). To determine fuel-specific combustion properties, wheat DDGS and mixes between wheat DDGS and logging residues (LR 60 %(wt d.s.) and DDGS 40 %(wt d.s.)), and wheat straw (wheat straw 50 %(wt d.s.), DDGS 50 %(wt d.s.)) were pelletized and combusted in a bubbling fluidised bed combustor (5 kW) and in a pellets burner combustor (20 kW). Pure wheat DDGS powder was also combusted in a powder burner (150 kW). Wheat DDGS had a high bed agglomeration and slagging tendency compared to other biomass fuels, although these tendencies were significantly lower for the mixture with the Ca-rich LR, probably reflecting the higher first melting temperatures of K-Ca/Mg-phosphates compared to K-phosphates. Combustion and co-combustion of wheat DDGS resulted in relatively large emissions of fine particles (<1 mu m) for all combustion appliances. For powder combustion PMtot was sixteen times higher than from softwood stem wood. While the Cl concentrations of the fine particles from the the mixture of LR and wheat DDGS in fluidised bed combustion were lower than from combustion of pure LR, the Cl- and P-concentrations were considerably higher from the wheat DDGS mixtures combusted in the other appliances at higher fuel particle temperature. The particles from powder combustion of wheat DDGS contained mainly K, P, Cl, Na and S, and as KPO3 (i.e. the main phase identified with XRD) is known to have a low melting temperature, this suggests that powder combustion of wheat DDGS should be used with caution. The high slagging and bed agglomeration tendency of wheat DDGS, and the high emissions of fine particles rich in K, P and Cl from combustion at high temperature, mean that it is best used mixed with other fuels, preferably with high Ca and Mg contents, and in equipment where fuel particle temperatures during combustion are moderate, i.e. fluidised beds and possibly grate combustors rather than powder combustors. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Biofuel; Combustion; Ash transformations; Alkali; Phosphorus

Published in

2012, volume: 102, pages: 208-220

Authors' information

Eriksson, Gunnar
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Eriksson, Gunnar
Luleå University of Technology
Luleå University of Technology
Skoglund, Nils
Umeå University
Boström, Dan
Umeå University
Öhman, Marcus
Luleå University of Technology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

UKÄ Subject classification

Chemical Process Engineering
Other Chemical Engineering

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