Effect of Alkaline Pretreatment on the Fuel Properties of Torrefied Biomass from Rice Husk

Chi Hung Tsai, Yun Hwei Shen, Wen Tien Tsai

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Lignocellulosic biomass from rice husk (RH) is a renewable resource for fuel production, but it could pose ash-related challenges. This work focused on investigating the effects of pretreatment at different sodium hydroxide (NaOH) concentrations (i.e., 0.0, 0.25, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.00 M) on the calorific values and ash contents of treated RH products, and also finding the optimal torrefaction conditions. The results showed that alkaline pretreatment by sodium hydroxide (NaOH) reduced the ash content in the RH samples by over 85 wt%. Due to its relatively excellent calorific values and low ash content, the RH sample with 0.25 M NaOH pretreatment (i.e., RH-25) was chosen as a starting feedstock in the subsequent torrefaction experiments as a function of 240–360 °C for holding time of 0–90 min. In addition, the surface properties by scanning electron microscopy—energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were also used to observe the elemental compositions preliminarily. Based on the fuel properties of the torrefied RH products, the optimal torrefaction conditions can be found at around 280 °C for holding 30 min. As compared to the calorific value of the RH-25 (i.e., 18.74 MJ/kg) and its mass yield (i.e., 0.588), the calorific value, enhancement factor and energy yield of the optimal product were 28.97 MJ/kg, 1.55 and 0.91, respectively. Although the resulting product has a high calorific value like coal, it could have slight potential for slagging and fouling tendency and particulate matter emissions due to the relatively high contents of silicon (Si) and sodium (Na), based on the results of EDS and FTIR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number679
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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