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01.09.2011 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2011

Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery 3/2011

Pelletizing of autumn leaves—possibilities and limits

Zeitschrift:
Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery > Ausgabe 3/2011
Autoren:
Marina Stegelmeier, Verena E. M. Schmitt, Martin Kaltschmitt

Abstract

The demand for biomass to be used as fuel is rising highly in a time of strongly increasing prices for fossil fuels and political discussions about climate change. Against this background, pelletized biomass, mostly composed of wood, has shown a significant market growth in recent years. Today, wood pellets are an important and popular fuel in lots of different countries and the according markets are likely to rise even further in the future. For this reasons, it is feared that the limited availability of cheap wood as a feedstock for pellets will limit this market increase. Autumn leaves from urban areas (like cities), as a seasonal available waste material, are a possible substitute for or additive to wood. Therefore, the use of this material as a feedstock for pellets is analyzed within this paper regarding the mechanical properties of leaf pellets produced in a laboratory pelletizing press. To achieve this objective, several influencing parameters are investigated and optimized; this is the case for the moisture content of leaves before pelletizing as well as for the addition of starchy binding agents and the pellet diameter. All over, leaves show a good pelletizing behavior under the conditions realized here. The mechanical properties of leaf pellets turn out to be comparable to those of default wood pellets, although the heating value is lower and the ash content is higher due to material specific characteristics.

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