Biomass and Gasification Properties of Young Populus Clones

Wayne A. Geyer, Jon DeWyke, Walter P. Walawender

Abstract


Studies were conducted to establish baseline information for use in characterizing poplar clones (Populus spp.) as an energy or fiber feedstock. Size and survival of 4-year-old trees varied significantly among the 29 clones evaluated, but larger trees generally had the best survival and are highly important in clonal comparisons. The high average mortality indicated that coppicing as a management strategy to grow these clones for fiber is questionable, at least with the clones being tested. Characteristics of the wood were similar to those of soft hardwoods; the mean value of gross heat of combustion was 18.9 kJ/g (4,520 cal/g); the fiber length was relatively short (0.84 mm); the ash content was 0.39%; and the specific gravity was 0.37. Mean specific gravity values for the bark and wood were 0.37 at the tree base and 0.34 at dbh (all based on green volume).

In general, wood was lower in gross heat of combustion and higher in ash content than bark, but specific gravity did not differ significantly. The whole-tree bark/wood heat of combustion was between the values for the two components. Chemical properties between selected clones were not different.

Steam gasification of four poplar clones (selected from the better clones) conducted in a fluidizedbed, bench-scale reactor over a temperature range of 595 to 617° showed no significant differences among them. The response variables considered were dry gas composition, gas higher heating value, dry gas volumetric and mass yields, carbon conversion to gas, and energy recovery.


Keywords


<i>Populus</i>;wood energy;specific gravity;gross heat of combustion;fiber length;gasification;gas yield;tree growth

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