This shows the formation of an ash deposit during the combustion of wheat straw. The red line above the deposit is a laser that measure size and speed of the particles as they approach the tube. Infrared radiation from the deposit is also analyzed to monitor changes in the material's surface chemistry.
Biomass fuels generate power from renewable organic sources. These include non-recyclable paper, wood scraps, straw, nut hulls, fruit pits, and other agricultural wastes. The CO2 produced by the combustion of biomass fuels is recycled in the process of growing more fuel. Thus, a negligible net amount of greenhouse emissions is produce from biomass combustion. Biomass is also a useful fuel source because it reuses wastes that would otherwise be uselessly burned or placed in a landfill.
One of the largest impediments to the widespread use of biomass is its tendency to form unmanageable ash deposits on boiler surfaces, which can cause poor operating performances or boiler shutdown. BYU is experimenting with various fuel blends and boiler operating conditions to find a combination which will allow ash deposition to remain manageable.
Sponsors: Department of Energy: Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Biomass Power Program