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Lam P.S.,University of British Columbia | Lam P.Y.,University of British Columbia | Sokhansanj S.,University of British Columbia | Sokhansanj S.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | And 8 more authors.
Applied Energy | Year: 2015

The effect of steam explosion pretreatment on the physical and mechanical properties of the pellets made from empty fruit bunch (EFB) and palm kernel shell (PKS) was investigated and compared to that of softwood Douglas fir (DF). It was found that the high heating value of the empty fruit bunch was increased by 21% after steam explosion pretreatment. The pellet density of EFB and Douglas fir pellets did not change while the pellet density of PKS increased from 1.13 to 1.21g/cm3 after steam explosion. That may be attributed to the rapid volatilization of high mass fraction extractives during high pressure steaming and lead to the shrinkage of micropores of the PKS fibers. The maximum breaking strength of steam exploded EFB and PKS were increased by 63% and 45%, respectively. The required compaction energy for the steam exploded EFB pellet is 44.50J/g while that of the untreated EFB pellet is 30.15J/g. Similar to Douglas fir, the required extrusion energy for the steam exploded EFB pellet was about 6times than that of the untreated EFB pellet. The increased extrusion energy is mainly contributed by the increase in mono-saccharides by auto-hydrolysis during steam explosion pretreatment. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Lam P.Y.,University of British Columbia | Lim C.J.,University of British Columbia | Sokhansanj S.,University of British Columbia | Sokhansanj S.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | And 7 more authors.
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research | Year: 2014

Oil palm residues are not currently suitable as feedstock for thermal energy generation because their high ash content can cause slagging, corrosion, and fouling. A water leaching treatment is a potential strategy to reduce the ash content in these residues. This study evaluates the effects of the duration and temperature of water leaching on two types of oil palm residues, namely, empty fruit bunches (EFBs) and palm kernel shells (PKSs). The optimum process duration for ash removal from EFBs was found to be 5 min, as the effect of convection on scrubbing was observed to remove substantial ash from the substrate during this period. A cross-flow model with estimated kinetic parameters of water leaching for EFB and PKS was developed and showed that three leaching stages of EFB achieved the greatest ash reduction from 5.47% to 2.63%. A low ash content of PKS showed no value for ash removal in any leaching process. Although there was no significance in the total ash reduction due to temperature effects, the leaching treatment was found to be most effective in reducing potassium, from 2.42% to 0.69% and 0.36% at 25 and 55 °C, respectively. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

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