Combined torrefaction and pelletization is used to increase the fuel value of biomass by increasing its energy density and improving its handling and combustion properties. In the present study, a single-pellet press tool was used to screen for the effects of pellet die temperature, moisture content, additive addition, and the degree of torrefaction on the pelletizing properties and pellet quality, i.e., density, static friction, and pellet strength. Results were compared with pellet production using a bench-scale pelletizer. The results indicate that friction is the key factor when scaling up from single-pellet press to bench-scale pelletizer. Tuning moisture content or increasing the die temperature did not ease the pellet production of torrefied wood chips significantly. The addition of rapeseed oil as a lubricant reduced the static friction by half and stabilized pellet production; however, the pellet quality, strength, and density were negatively affected. The pellets produced from pine wood torrefied at 250 and 280 °C were shorter than pellets produced from untreated wood and their quality did not match conventional wood pellet standards. However, the heating value of the torrefied pellets was higher and the particle size distribution after grinding the pellets was more uniform compared to conventional wood pellets.
Bioenergy Research, 2013, Vol 7, Issue 1, p. 87-94