Improved gasification of rice husks for optimized biochar production in a top lit updraft gasifier
Nsamba, Hussein Kisiki
Hale, Sarah E.
Bachmann, Robert Thomas
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Biochar is a solid material obtained from the carbonization of biomass. If properly produced, it is useful for soil application to enrich plant values. Rice husk (RH) waste, an abundant agricultural by-product, was gasified in a top-lit updraft Belonio rice husk gasifier with a biochar yield of 29.0% ± 1.9%. The equivalence ratio (ER) for optimum biochar production was identified and its effect on biochar properties such as pH, volatile matter (VM), fixed carbon (FC) and ash content (AC), electricity consumption, biochar yield, specific gasification rate (SGR) as well as reactor temperature investigated and statistically analyzed. As ER increased from 0.292 ± 0.005 to 0.442 ± 0.016, the SGR decreased from 85.4 ± 4.5 kg/(m2hr) to 51.6 ± 2.4 kg/(m2hr) whereas reactor temperature increased linearly with ER. The original VM content of RH was found to be 76.1% ± 1.2% and decreased with increasing ER from 14.1% ± 0.2% to 10.6% ± 0.3%. The original FC and AC of 5.49% ± 0.22% and 9.10% ± 1.23% increased with ER from 50.5% ± 0.7% to 51.3% ± 0.4% and 33.7% ± 0.4% to 36.7% ± 0.1% respectively. The biochar pH at low, medium and high ER was 9.36 ± 0.11, 9.64 ± 0.03 and 9.42 ± 0.01, respectively. Results revealed a significant change in biochar yield and proximate values as ER changes from low to high.