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Abstract

The use of biomass in the energy industry is the consequence of ongoing efforts to replace Energy from fossil fuels with energy from renewable sources. However, due to the diversity of the biomass, its use as a solid fuel generates waste with diverse and unstable chemical composition. Waste from biomass combustion is a raw material with a very diverse composition, even in the case of using only one type of biomass. The content of individual elements in fly ash from the combustion of biomass ranges from zero to tens of percent. This makes it difficult to determine the optimal recovery methods. The ashes from the combustion of biomass are most commonly used in the production of building materials and agriculture. This article presents the elemental composition of the most commonly used biomass fuels. The results of the analysis of elemental composition of fly ashes from the combustion of forest and agricultural biomass in fluidized bed boilers used in the commercial power industry were presented. These ashes are characterized by a high content of calcium (12.3–19.4%), silicon (1.2–8.3%), potassium (0.05–1.46%), chlorine (1.1–6.1%), and iron (0.8–6.5%). The discussed ashes contained no sodium. Aluminum was found only in one of the five ashes. Manganese, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, sulfur, bismuth, titanium and zirconium were found in all of the examined ashes. The analysis of elemental composition may allow for a preliminary assessment of the recovery potential of a given ash.
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Abstract

Petrographic and physico-chemical analyses of ashes are carried out on a large scale and presented in numerous scientific papers. The mentioned ashes are obtained from filters and electrostatic precipitators mounted in large industrial installations. The large-scale analysis of the ashes obtained directly from grate furnaces or blast furnaces mounted in low-power boilers started with combating smog and low-stack emissions. The collection of ash samples from household furnaces usually involves the analysis of the combustion of waste in low-power boilers. This is justified in the case of old type boilers, which were designed to use virtually any fuel. Currently, new types of boilers, designed to burn dedicated fuels, are offered on the market. The aim is to use only renewable fuels (biomass) or fossil fuels with high quality parameters, which are more environment-friendly, e.g. eco-pea coal, lignite briquettes, or peat briquettes. The authors of the study focused on examining the ash obtained from boilers for burning wood pellets by performing microscopic analysis of residues after biomass combustion. The above mentioned analysis provides a comprehensive information on the efficiency of the combustion process, the content of contaminants remaining in the ash, and the suitability of ash for other applications. The entire process, from the moment of collecting the samples to the execution of the analysis takes up to 12 hours, which ensures a quick decision on furnace adjustment or fuel change. The ash components were determined based on the results obtained by the Fly-Ash Working Group of the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology (ICCP). The mentioned classification has been supplemented with new key elements occurring in ashes resulting from the combustion of wood pellets in household boilers. This allowed determining the percentage content of characteristic components in the tested material, which can be used as a specific benchmark when issuing opinions on the quality and efficiency of the boiler and the combusted pellets.
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