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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.


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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