Fuel Properties of Sugar Maple and Yellow Birch Wood in Relation with Tree Vigor

Quy Nam Nguyen, Alain Cloutier, Alexis Achim, Tatjana Stevanovic

Abstract


The fuel properties of wood obtained from sugar maple (SM) and yellow birch (YB) of temperate hardwood stands located in the Province of Québec, Canada were studied to see how tree vigor affects the chemical composition and calorific value of the wood. This study focused on the physical and chemical properties of wood with the aim of using the material for the production of solid biofuels. Specific items measured included the wood’s calorific values, and the levels of extractives, ash, and lignin. Changes in chemical composition were found among tree vigor classes. The low vigor trees had higher extractives, ash, and lignin contents than the vigorous trees. Total extractives ranged between 4.88 and 7.32% in SM, and between 3.35 and 5.12% in YB. Klason lignin ranged between 21.46 and 23.53% in SM, and between 18.60 and 21.51% in YB. Ash content ranged between 0.38 and 0.97% in SM, and between 0.26 and 0.47% in YB. The combined effects of higher lignin content that could contribute to a better self-bonding of particles and of higher extractives content that could facilitate the pelletization process makes the low vigor trees more suitable for conversion into solid biofuels. The higher amounts of extractives and lignin present in the low vigor sugar maple and yellow birch trees could also have a positive role in maintaining the high calorific values of this wood despite higher ash content.

Keywords


Hardwoods; Low quality trees; Chemical composition; Heating value; Solid biofuels

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