Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Bed Agglomeration Characteristics in Fluidized Quartz Bed Combustion of Phosphorus-Rich Biomass Fuels

Grimm, Alejandro; Skoglund, Nils; Bostrom, Dan; Ohman, Marcus


The bed agglomeration characteristics during combustion of phosphorus-rich biomass fuels and fuel mixtures were determined in a fluidized (quartz) bed reactor (5 kW). The fuels studied (separately and in mixtures) included logging residues, bark, willow, wheat straw, and phosphorus-rich fuels, like rapeseed meal (RM) and wheat distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS). Phosphoric acid was used as a fuel additive. Bed material samples and agglomerates were studied by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), in order to analyze the morphological and compositional changes of coating/reaction layers and necks between agglomerated bed particles. Furthermore, bed ash particles were separated by sieving from the bed material samples and analyzed with SEM/EDS and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). For logging residues, bark, and willow, with fuel ash rich in Ca and K but with low contents of P and organically bound Si, the bed layer formation is initiated by reactions of gaseous or liquid K compounds with the surface of the bed material grains, resulting in the formation of a potassium silicate melt. The last process is accompanied by the diffusion/dissolving of Ca into the melt and consequent viscous flow sintering and agglomeration. The addition of high enough phosphorus content to convert the available fuel ash basic oxides into phosphates reduced the amount of K available for the reaction with the quartz bed material grains, thus preventing the formation of an inner bed particle layer in the combustion of logging residues, bark, and willow. Some of the phosphate-rich ash particles, formed during the fuel conversion, adhered and reacted with the bed material grains to form noncontinuous phosphate silicate coating layers, which were found responsible for the agglomeration process. Adding phosphorus-rich fuels/additives to fuels rich in K and Si (e.g., wheat straw) leads to the formation of alkali-rich phosphate silicate ash particles that also adhered to the bed particles and caused agglomeration. The melting behavior of the bed particle layers/coatings formed during combustion of phosphorus-rich fuels and fuel mixtures is an important controlling factor behind the agglomeration tendency of the fuel and is heavily dependent on the content of alkaline earth metals in the fuel. A general observation is that phosphorus is the controlling element in ash transformation reactions during biomass combustion in fluidized quartz beds because of the high stability of phosphate compounds.

Published in

Energy and Fuels
2011, Volume: 25, number: 3, pages: 937-947

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Chemical Engineering
    Chemical Process Engineering

    Publication Identifiers


    Permanent link to this page (URI)