The thermal degradation of agricultural products and by-products (two kinds of maize plants, wheat, and barley straw) has been investigated by means of thermogravimetric/mass spectrometric analysis at heating rates from 1 to 10°C/min. Large differences were found in the pyrolytic behaviour of the untreated samples, mainly caused by the high content of inorganics (ash content of about 4–6wt%). These differences could be reduced by washing the samples with cold water. A kinetic model based on the formal kinetic parameters for the pyrolysis of the main components (hemicelluloses, lignin, and cellulose) and their degradable amounts was applied. To reduce the complexity of the model, only largely ash reduced samples were used. The formal kinetic parameters for the main components of barley straw and Gavott were individually determined. Although different monomeric lignin degradation products were found for the angiosperms of grassy biomass in comparison to woody biomass, the formal kinetic parameters for lignin degradation are similar. The transferability of the formal kinetic parameters was successfully tested by applying them to a different straw type (wheat) and to a different maize cultivar (Doge) using the results of the biochemical analysis for the main components (hemicelluloses, lignin, and cellulose).
Authors: Müller-Hagedorn, M.; Bockhorn, H.; May 2007