Determination of zero dimensional, apparent devolatilization kinetics for biomass particles at suspension firing conditions

Anna Espekvist, Tian Li, Peter Glarborg, Terese Løvås, Peter Arendt Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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As part of the strive for a carbon neutral energy production, biomass combustion has been widely implemented in retrofitted coal burners. Modeling aids substantially in prediction of biomass flame behavior and thus in boiler chamber conditions. In this work, a simple model for devolatilization of biomass at conditions relevant for suspension firing is presented. It employs Arrhenius parameters in a single first order (SFOR) devolatilization reaction, where the effects of kinetics and heat transfer limitations are lumped together. In this way, a biomass particle can be modeled as a zero dimensional, isothermal particle, facilitating computational fluid dynamic calculations of boiler chambers. The zero dimensional model includes the effects of particle aspect ratio, particle density, maximum gas temperature, and particle radius. It is developed using the multivariate data analysis method, partial least squares regression, and is validated against a more rigorous semi-2D devolatilization model. The model has the capability to predict devolatilization time for conditions in the parameter ranges; radius (39–1569 μμm), density (700–1300 kg/m3), gas temperature (1300–1900 K), aspect ratio (1.01–8). Results show that the particle radius and gas phase temperature have a large influence on the devolatilization rate, and the aspect ratio has a comparatively smaller effect, which, however, cannot be neglected. The impact of aspect ratio levels off as it increases. The model is suitable for use as stand alone or as a submodel for biomass particle devolatilization in CFD models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1018
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • Biomass devolatilization
  • Partial least squares regression (PLS)
  • Suspension firing
  • Devolatilization model
  • Biomass pyrolysis


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