Evaluating Biomass Ash Properties as Influenced by Feedstock and Thermal Conversion Technology towards Cement Clinker Production with a Lower Carbon Footprint

Tosti, Lorenzo; Zomeren, André van; Pels, Jan R.; Comans, Rob N.J.


Purpose: This study evaluates the potential of biomass ash as raw clinker material and the influence of biomass feedstock and thermal conversion technology on biomass ash properties. Methods: A set of criteria for biomass feedstock and ash properties (i.e. CaO/SiO2 ratio and burnability) are established. A large dataset was collected and the best combination of biomass feedstock and conversion technology regarding the desired ash quality was identified. Results: Wood biomass has the highest potential to provide the right CaO/SiO2 ratio which is needed to form clinker minerals. Bark content and exogenous Si inclusion in wood biomass have a large influence on the CaO/SiO2 ratio. Paper sludge is composed of Ca, Si and Al and can potentially serve as a source of cement elements. Wood fly ash from pulverized fuel combustion can substitute a considerable amount of raw clinker materials due to its similar burnability. The replacement ratio is determined by the content of adverse elements in the ash (i.e. MgO2 and P2O5). Conclusion: Using biomass ash to lower the CO2 emission from clinker production depends on the joint effort of bioenergy producers, by providing higher quality biomass ash, and cement makers, by adapting the kiln operation to enable a high level of raw material replacement by biomass ash.The presented evaluation of the ash production chain, from biomass selection through combustion technology and ash management, provides new insights and recommendations for both stakeholders to facilitate this sustainable development. Graphic Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].