Hydrothermal Carbonization of Corn Residuals to Produce a Solid Fuel Replacement for Coal

Minaret, Jamie
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University of Guelph

The present thesis focused on the production of a solid fuel (hydrochar) from corn residues through a treatment called hydrothermal carbonization (HTC), for the use in coal power generating facilities. The HTC treatment was analyzed to determine if the process could produce hydrochar with an energy content similar to coal, as well as how the type of biomass effected the quality of hydrochar. The maximum energy content of hydrochar produced from corn stover and corn husks were 28.9 and 27.7 MJ/kg, respectively, which is comparable to coal used in combustion. The HTC process resulted in an energy yield of 5.14 when the lower heating value was used to represent the energy content. It was determined that the biomass organic elemental composition effected the quality of hydrochar to the same severity as the HTC processing time and that the HTC treatment was a viable option for removing potassium from biomass.

Biomass, Sustainable Energy, Energy Conversion