Biomass Characterization Laboratory

The Biomass Characterization Laboratory (LCB) takes part in CIEMAT’s ongoing projects, principally those pertaining to the Biomass Unit and Thermal Conversion Processes. The R&D&I activities of the LCB focus on three main research areas: developing methods for the physical, chemical and energy-related characterization of biomass; biomass sampling and quality (polluting emissions); and reducing slag formation and corrosion in thermochemical processes for laboratories, pilot plants and industrial facilities.

 

Main equipment and procedures:

 

Calorimetry:

calorimetría

Two calorimeters for defining the upper calorific value of solid biofuels, biomass and unburned waste from thermochemical processes. By defining the ash content and conducting CHN and/or CI-S testing, it is possible to calculate the lower calorific value, applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others).

  • LECO AC 300 automatic isothermal calorimeter.
  • IKA C 5000 automatic adiabatic and isoperibolic calorimeter.

 

Thermal analysis:

Thermogravimetric analyser

DTwo thermogravimetric analysers for defining ash content, volatile matter and moisture in analytical samples of solid biofuels, biomass and waste from thermochemical processes, applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others). The laboratory also has a thermogravimetric analyser with differential scanning calorimeter (TGA-DSC) for defining the exothermic and endothermic reactions involved in thermochemical processes (apart from loss of weight in accordance with temperature).

  • LECO TGA-701 thermogravimetric analysers with multi-sample capacity (up to 19 samples at a time).
  • SETARAM Setsys Evolution 1750 TG-DSC thermogravimetric analyser with differential scanning calorimeter (TGA-DSC). 

 

Organic elemental analysis:

organic elemental analysis

Two elemental analysers for identifying the presence of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen (plus the capacity to identify sulphur) in solid biofuels, biomass and waste from thermochemical processes, applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others).

  • FISONS EA 1108 micro-sample CHN elemental analyser.
  • LECO Truspec macro-sample CHN elemental analyser.

 

Chlorine and sulphur analysis:

Ion chromatographyTwo ion chromatographs with autosampler for identifying the presence of chlorine and sulphur in solid biofuels, biomass and waste from thermochemical processes, applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others).

  • METROHM 883 Basic IC Plus ion chromatographs.

 

Inorganic elemental analysis:

inorganic elemental analysis

Two autosampler-equipped instruments for the identification of inorganic elements (Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Na, P, S, Si, Ba, Mn, Sr, Ti and Zn) in solid biofuels, biomass and waste from thermochemical processes, applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others).

  • THERMO JARRELL ASH IRIS AP simultaneous atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-OES).
  • PANalytical Axios X-ray fluorescence spectrometer

 

Trace element analysis:

análisis de elementos traza

An autosampler-equipped instrument for the identification of trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) in solid biofuels, biomass and waste from thermochemical processes, applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others). The laboratory also has a direct mercury analyser for identifying mercury.

  • THERMO XSeries II inductively coupled argon plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS).
  • MILESTONE DMA-80 direct mercury analyser.

 

Chemical compounds:

chemical compounds

X-ray diffractometer with autosampler for identifying the mineral phases contained in solid biofuels, biomass and waste from thermochemical processes. Rietveld analysis for the semi-quantification of phases is also provided.

  • PANalytical X’PERT-PRO X-ray diffractometer (powder method).

 

Fusibility:

Optical heating microscopeAn  automated  instrument  for  calculating  the  tendency  towards  slag  formation  for  the  ash  contained  in  solid  biofuels,  biomass  and  waste  from  thermochemical  processes,  applying  the  UNE-EN  (CEN/TS 15370-1)  pre-standards  for  solid  biofuels  (or  others).

  • HESSE INSTRUMENTS HT15 optical heating microscope.

 

Scanning electron microscope with elemental microanalysis (SEM-EDX):

Scanning electron microscopeA scanning electron microscope for obtaining high-resolution morphological information on a highly diverse range of samples (e.g. ash, steel, biomass, etc.). The EDX microanalysis system makes it possible to analyse the elements contained in micrometric portions of the test sample. The laboratory has equipment for cutting, polishing and coating the samples in gold or graphite in order to prepare them for characterization.

  • ZEISS EVO LS 10 scanning electron microscope with elemental microanalysis.

 

Photo-optical particle analyser for particle size and shape:

Photo-optical analyserThe photo-optical analyser makes it possible to determine the size distribution (by surface and volume) of the particles contained in a highly diverse range of samples (solid biofuels, biomass, ash, etc.). This instrument also identifies the shape of these particles and offers a range of different parameters, including length to width ratio, sphericity, circularity and specific surface area, for each particle contained in the test portion.

  • HAVER & BOECKER HAVER CPA 4-2 photo-optical particle analyser for particle size and shape.