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Highlights

Canola hull fuel pellets were made using bio-additives, including alkali lignin, glycerol, and l-proline.

Pellet formulation was optimized to produce pellet with mechanical durability of 99% and relaxed density of 1,110 kg/m3.

l-proline showed the best performance for enhancement of pellet mechanical properties among all amino acids.

Use of crude glycerol instead of pure glycerol decreased compression energy (by ∼20%).

Synchrotron-based computed tomography was applied for visualizing and determining pellet porosity structure.

Abstract

Agricultural residues can be converted to value-added products such as fuel pellets. Bio-based additives, including alkali lignin, glycerol and l-proline were used for binding formulation of canola hull fuel pellets. The binding formulation was optimized to produce pellet with the mechanical durability (by drop test) of 99%, relaxed density of 1,110 kg/m3, and energy density of 18,603 MJ/m3. l-proline showed the best performance in the enhancement of mechanical properties of pellet when compared with other two amino acids. Comparing with pure glycerol, use of crude glycerol decreased compression energy required for pelletization, but resultant pellet had lower tensile strength. SEM and light microscopy showed the effects of lacking moisture, lignin and l-proline in the formulation. Synchrotron-based computed tomography was used for 3D imaging of fuel pellets yielding estimated porosity values over a range of 1.3–5.7% for different fuel pellets. The effects of pelletization operating conditions were also investigated on the pellets.

Keywords

Canola hull

Pelletization

Characterization

Fuel pellet

Mechanical strength

Hydrophobicity

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© 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd.