Physicochemical Properties and Possible Applications of Waste Corncob Fly Ash from Biomass Gasification Industries of China

Xiwen Yao, Kaili Xu, Yang Li


As a by-product generated from the processing of corn, the production in China of corncob (CC) is abundant, with up to 3.87 million tons per year. The biomass gasification industries make use of the CC residue as feedstock, but large volumes of generated corncob ash (CCA) requires daily disposal. In this study, CCA was characterized by laser particle size analyzer (LPSA), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermal gravimetric and differential thermal analysis (TG-DTA), scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX). XRF results showed that the CCA was rich in K, Ca, and P, indicating its potential as a soil amendment. High content of SiO2 in CCA revealed its potential as a pozzolan in blended cement concrete. XRD showed the presence of crystal phases such as potassium carbonate, sylvite, arcanite, quartz, calcite, and nitrite. SEM images revealed the high agglomeration of CCA. EDX gave evidence of the external surface of agglomerated particles coated with KCl. TG-DTA analysis indicates that decomposition of CCA has stepwise mechanism. The CCA powders through a 0.154 mm sieve showed a high specific surface area of 162.32 m2/g, average pore size of 12.17 Å with pore volume of 0.116 cm3/g. The carbon residue separated from CCA has the potential to be used as activated carbon.


Biomass; Corncob ash; Gasification; Ash characteristics; Applications

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