Systems analysis of integrated southern pine torrefaction and granulation technology
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A proof of concept integrated torrefaction and granulation technology was investigated to granulate southern pine using a lab-scale pan granulation unit. Southern pine chips were torrefied at 250, 275 and 300℃ using a pilot scale torrefaction reactor. Torrefied materials were size reduced using a knife mill with 0.25 mm screen and were granulated with lignosulphonate and starch liquid binders. Granules produced from 300℃ torrefied material with both the binders had acceptable granule properties with minimal binder usage. Techno-economic and life cycle assessments of integrated torrefaction and granulation of southern pine concluded that granulation of torrefied pine at 300℃ had lower production cost and minimal environmental burdens compared to that of wood pellet production. Opportunities exist to further improve the proposed granulation technology prior to commercialization.