Gasification reactor engineering approach to understanding the formation of biochar properties

Andrew Rollinson

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    22 Citations (Scopus)
    226 Downloads (Pure)


    The correlation between thermochemical provenance and biochar functionality is poorly understood. To this end, operational reactor temperatures (spanning the reduction zone), pressure and product gas composition measurements were obtained from a downdraft gasifier and compared against elemental composition, surface morphology and polyaromatic hydrocarbon content (PAH) of the char produced. Pine feedstock moisture with values of 7% and 17% was the experimental variable. Moderately high steady-state temperatures were observed inside the reactor, with a ca 50°C difference in how the gasifier operated between the two feedstock types. Both chars exhibited surface properties comparable to activated carbon, but the relatively small differences in temperature caused significant variations in biochar surface area and morphology: micropore area 584 against 360 m2 g−1, and micropore volume 0.287 against 0.172 cm3 g−1. Differences in char extractable PAH content were also observed, with higher concentrations (187 µg g−1 ± 18 compared with 89 ± 19 µg g−1 Σ16EPA PAH) when the gasifier was operated with higher moisture content feedstock. It is recommended that greater detail on operational conditions during biochar production should be incorporated to future biochar characterization research as a consequence of these results
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A
    Issue number2192
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2016


    • gasification, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, biochar, renewable energy, biomass


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