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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Off-Gassing of VOCs and Permanent Gases during Storage of Torrefied and Steam Exploded Wood

Boren, Eleonora; Yazdanpanah, Fahimeh; Lindahl, Roger; Schilling, Christoph; Chandra, Richard P.; Ghiasi, Bahman; Tang, Yong; Sokhansanj, Shahabaddine; Brostrom, Markus; Larsson, Sylvia H.


Thermal treatment for upgrading of low-value feedstocks to improve fuel properties has gained large industrial interest in recent years. From a storage and transport perspective, hazardous off-gassing could be expected to decrease through the degradation of reactive biomass components. However, thermal treatment could also shift chemical compositions of volatile organic components, VOCs. While technologies are approaching commercialization, off-gassing behavior of the products, especially in terms of VOCs, is still unknown. In the present study, we measured off-gassing of VOCs together with CO,CO2, CH4, and O-2 depletion from torrefied and steam exploded softwood during closed storage. The storage temperature, head space gas (air and N-2), and storage time were varied. VOCs were monitored with a newly developed protocol based on active sampling with Tenax TA absorbent analyzed by thermal desorption-GC/MS. High VOC levels were found for both untreated and steam exploded softwood, but with a complete shift in composition from terpenes dominating the storage gas for untreated wood samples to an abundance of furfural in the headspace of steam exploded wood. Torrefied material emitted low levels of VOCs. By using multivariate statistics, it was shown that for both treatment methods and within the ranges tested, VOC off-gassing was affected first by the storage temperature and second by increasing treatment severity. Both steam exploded and torrefied biomass formed lower levels of CO than the reference biomass, but steam explosion caused a more severe O-2 depletion.

Published in

Energy and Fuels
2017, Volume: 31, number: 10, pages: 10954-10965

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Wood Science

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