Characterization of Torrefied Biomass of Five Reforestation Species (Cupressus lusitanica, Dipteryx panamensis, Gmelina arborea, Tectona grandis, and Vochysia ferruginea) in Costa Rica

Johanna Gaitán-Alvarez, Róger Moya, Ana Rodríguez-Zúñiga, Allen Puente-Urbina


Torrefaction can increase the energy yield of biomass for better utilization in bioenergy, but chemical changes occur during the pretreatment process. Wood residues of Cupressus lusitanica, Dipteryx panamensis, Gmelina arborea, Tectona grandis, and Vochysia ferruginea were torrefied for three different time periods (8, 10, and 12 min) and three different temperatures (200, 225, and 250 °C). The mass loss, net calorific value, ash, volatiles, lignin, cellulose, extractives, and infrared spectra were evaluated. The results showed that the mass loss in torrefied biomass varied between 10% and 70%, ash content varied between 0.19 and 7.00%, and volatiles content varied between 63 and 85%. Net calorific value values varied between 17 and 23 MJ/kg, increasing with the increased torrefaction temperature. Cellulose varied between 49.85 and 67.57%. Lignin varied between 27.33 and 41.09%. The extractives varied between 3.70 and 16.86%. The change in the ratio of intensity (RI) for the bands identified using FTIR analyses showed that large changes occurred in hemicellulose components. The multivariate analysis showed that lignin, ash, extractives in hot water, volatiles, and mass loss were the variables that contributed most. The analysis of all these variables showed that torrefaction at 250 °C for 12 min presented the greatest biomass degradation. Torrefaction at 200 °C and 225 °C for 8, 10, and 12 min was optimal for thermal treatment of the biomass of these woody species.


Biomass; Torrefaction; Thermal stability; Costa Rica

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