Table of Contents
ISRN Renewable Energy
Volume 2013, Article ID 508965, 5 pages
Research Article

Thermal with Mass Spectroscopic Analysis of Wood and Cereal Biomass Torrefaction

Sasol Advanced Fuels Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, Western Cape, South Africa

Received 22 October 2013; Accepted 8 December 2013

Academic Editors: V. Makareviciene and V. Strezov

Copyright © 2013 René Laryea-Goldsmith and Chris Woolard. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Torrefaction is a mild form of pyrolysis that, when applied to biomass, has the effect of improving the energy density of biomass-derived solid fuels. In this study, thermogravimetric analysis (coupled with mass spectrometry) was applied to two biomass fuels (pine wood and white maize ear) to investigate a potential representative torrefaction thermal treatment process. The mass loss from the torrefaction process was indicative of emission of aliphatic hydrocarbons, evidenced by mass spectroscopic data and it is evident that optimal torrefaction conditions are determined by the type of biomass to which torrefaction processing is applied.