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Lv, P., Almeida, G., and Perré, P. (2012). "Torrefaction of cellulose: Validity and limitation of the temperature/duration equivalence," BioRes. 7(3), 3720-3731.

Abstract

During torrefaction of biomass, equivalence between temperature and residence time is often reported, either in terms of the loss of mass or the alternation of properties. The present work proposes a rigorous investigation of this equivalence. Cellulose, as the main lignocellulosic biomass component, was treated under mild pyrolysis for 48 hours. Several couples of T-D (temperature-duration) points were selected from TGA curves to obtain mass losses of 11.6%, 25%, 50%, 74.4%, and 86.7%. The corresponding residues were subjected to Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy for analysis. According to the FTIR results, a suitably accurate match to global T-D equivalence is exhibited up to 50% mass loss: in this domain, mass loss is well correlated to the treatment intensity (molecular composition of the residue) except for slight differences in the production of C=C and C=O. For mass loss levels of 74.4% and 86.7%, distinct degradation mechanisms take place at different combinations of temperature and duration, and the correlation fails. Compared to the mass loss at 220°C and 250°C, the equivalent molecular composition can be achieved through treatment at 280°C with shorter treatment time and less depolymerization and oxidation. The main conclusion drawn is that mass loss can be used as a synthetic indicator of the treatment intensity in the temperature range of 220°C to 280°C up to a mass loss of 50%.
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