Open Journal Systems


G. Cruz, P. M. Crnkovic


Thermal conversion processes that use coffee husk are an alternative to solve the environmental problems of disposal and waste burning in open places and avoid greenhouse gases emissions. The present study evaluates in natura coffee husk samples and residues obtained from a combustion process in a Drop Tube Furnace (DTF). Such an evaluation consists in understanding the efficiency of the burning process, therefore the activation energies (Ea) of the combustion process for both samples were determined. The isoconversional kinetic method (Model Free Kinetics) was used for the determination of the Ea values of the samples. The Ea values of the main stages of the combustion process (devolatilization and carbonization) for both samples were compared. Thermogravimetric (TG) and Derivative Thermogravimetric (DTG) data at five heating rates (10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 oC min-1) were used for the determination of hemicellulose, cellulose and residual lignin. SEM (Scanning Electronic Microscopy) images and EDS (Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy) analysis were applied as complementary techniques in the combustion process. The results show that for both samples the Ea values were higher for the carbonization step than for devolatilization. The Ea values for the stages of devolatilization and carbonization for the residues were 33 and 15% lower than those for the in natura coffee husk samples. The lower Ea values in both steps for the residues are indicative of a reduction in the complexity of the reaction mechanism, which can be a parameter for the evaluation of the biomass combustion process. According to the SEM images, the residues showed exploded surfaces caused by the combustion process, whereas in the in natura samples a denser and robust structure was observed. The ash formed after the combustion process in the thermobalance was also evaluated by SEM and EDS analyses and showed a more homogenous structure with tiny particles in comparison with the in natura coffee husk samples. The EDS analysis confirmed the presence of precursor elements in the samples, such as potassium and other inorganic materials, which were intensified after the combustion process.


biomass; combustion; thermal analysis; morphology; kinetic method

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