The Biomass Characterisation Laboratory (LCB) takes part in CIEMAT’s ongoing projects, mainly on those pertaining to the Biomass Unit and the Thermal Conversion Processes Unit. The R&D&I activities of the LCB focus on three main research areas: developing methods for the physical, chemical and energy-related characterisation of biomass; definition and improvement of the quality of biomass and its derived ashes (use and valorisation); and reducing slag formation and corrosion in thermochemical processes for laboratories, pilot plants and industrial facilities.
Main equipment and procedures:
Two calorimeters to determine the upper and lower calorific value of solid biofuels, biomass, and unburned residues from thermochemical processes, following the UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or other standards).
- PARR 6400 automatic isoperibol calorimeter.
- IKA C 5000 automatic adiabatic and isoperibol calorimeter.
Two thermogravimetric analysers (TGA) to determine the ash content, volatile matter and moisture in solid biofuels, biomass, and residues from thermochemical processes by 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.
- Setaram Setsys Evolution TG-DSC 1750 thermogravimetric analyser with differential scanning calorimeter.
Organic elemental analysis:
Two elemental analysers for carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulphur determination in solid biofuels, biomass, and residues from thermochemical processes by applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or other standards).
- Thermo Fisher Flash micro sample CHN elemental analyser.
- Leco TruSpec macro sample CHN elemental analyser.
Chlorine and sulphur analysis:
Two ion chromatographs for chlorine and sulphur determination in solid biofuels, biomass and residues from thermochemical processes by applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others).
- Metrohm 883 Basic IC Plus ion chromatograph.
- Metrohm 732+733 IC ion chromatograph.
Inorganic elemental analysis:
Equipment for the determination of inorganic elements (Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Na, P, S, Si, Ba, Mn, Sr, Ti and Zn) in solid biofuels, biomass, and residues from thermochemical processes by 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 (XRF).
Minor and trace element analysis:
Laboratory equipment for the determination of minor and trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Zn, etc.) in solid biofuels, biomass, and residues from thermochemical processes by applying UNE-EN-ISO standards for solid biofuels (or others).
- Thermo Fisher Scientific iCAP Q inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS).
- Milestone DMA-80 automatic mercury analyser.
X-ray diffractometer to identify the mineral phases contained in solid biofuels, biomass, and residues from thermochemical processes. Rietveld analysis for the semi-quantification of phases can also be performed.
- PANalytical X’pert-Pro X-ray diffractometer (XRD).
Two automated analysers to determine the ash fusibility behaviour of solid biofuels, biomass and residues from thermochemical processes, applying the UNE-EN-ISO 21404:2020 standard for solid biofuels.
- Hesse instrument HT15 optical heating microscope.
- CKIC 5E-AF4115 multi-sample optical heating microscope.
Scanning electron microscopy with elemental microanalysis:
A scanning electron microscope (SEM) to obtain 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. For sample preparation, the laboratory has equipment for cutting, polishing and coating the samples in gold or graphite.
- Zeiss Evo LS 10 scanning electron microscope with elemental microanalysis (SEM-EDX).
Photo-optical particle analyser for particle size and shape:
A photo-optical analyser to determine the particle size distribution (by surface and volume) of a highly diverse range of samples (solid biofuels, biomass, ash, etc.). Furthermore, this equipment also identifies the shape of the particles and offers a range of different parameters for each particle contained in the test portion, including length to width ratio, sphericity, circularity and specific surface area.
- Haver & Boecker CPA 4-2 photo-optical particle analyser.
Analysis of volatile organic compounds: Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS):
A triple quadrupole gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer (GC-MS) with a purge and trap system, a flame ionization detector (FID), as well as automated equipment for pressurized liquid extraction and solvent evaporation through low-pressure ultracentrifugation are also available in the LCB. This equipment is used to determine volatile and semivolatile organic compounds in different types of natural products and environmental matrices.
- Thermo Fisher Scientific Trace 1300-TQS 9000-Atom XYZ gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer in tandem (GC-MS-MS).
- Thermo Fisher Scientific Dionex ASE 350 automatic pressurized solid-liquid extraction equipment.
- Genevac Rocket automatic sample concentration and solvent evaporation equipment.