Production of Solid Fuel by Torrefaction Using Coconut Leaves As Renewable Biomass

Lola Domnina Bote Pestaño, Wilfredo I. Jose
DOI: 10.14710/ijred.5.3.187-197


The reserves of non-renewable energy sources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas are not limitless, they gradually get exhausted and their price continually increases. In the last four decades, researchers have been focusing on alternate fuel resources to meet the ever increasing energy demand and to avoid dependence on crude oil. Amongst different sources of renewable energy, biomass residues hold special promise due to their inherent capability to store solar energy and amenability to subsequent conversion to convenient solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. At present, among the coconut farm wastes such as husks, shell, coir dust and coconut leaves, the latter is considered the most grossly under-utilized by in situ burning in the coconut farm as means of disposal. In order to utilize dried coconut leaves and to improve its biomass properties, this research attempts to produce solid fuel by torrefaction using dried coconut leaves for use as alternative source of energy. Torrefaction is a thermal method for the conversion of biomass operating in the low temperature range of 200oC-300oC under atmospheric conditions in absence of oxygen. Dried coconut leaves were torrefied at different feedstock conditions. The key torrefaction products were collected and analyzed. Physical and combustion characteristics of both torrefied and untorrefied biomass were investigated. Torrefaction of dried coconut leaves significantly improved the heating value compared to that of the untreated biomass.  Proximate compositions of the torrefied biomass also improved and were comparable to coal. The distribution of the products of torrefaction depends highly on the process conditions such as torrefaction temperature and residence time. Physical and combustion characteristics of torrefied biomass were superior making it more suitable for fuel applications.

Article History: Received June 24th 2016; Received in revised form August 16th 2016; Accepted 27th 2016; Available online

How to Cite This Article: Pestaño, L.D.B. and Jose, W.I. (2016) Production of Solid Fuel by Torrefaction Using Coconut Leaves As Renewable Biomass. Int. Journal of Renewable Energy Development, 5(3), 187-197.



Torrefaction, biomass, coconut leaves, renewable energy


Anon. 1978 Leucaena - Promising Forage and Tree Crop for the Tropics. Report on a study conducted jointly by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Resources Research and the United States National Academy of Sciences. U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

Antal, M.J., M. Gronli. (2003). The art, science and technology of charcoal production. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 42, 1619-1640.

Bell, M.J., F. Worrall. (2011). Charcoal addition to soils in NE England: A carbon sink with environmental co-benefits? Sci. Total Environ. 409, 1704-1714.

Almeida, G., Brito, J.O., Perre, P. (2010). Alterations in energy properties of eucalyptus wood and bark subjected to torrefaction: the potential of mass loss as a synthetic indicator. Bioresource Technology , 101(24),9778-9784.

Arias, B., Pevida, C., Fermoso, J., Plaza M.G., Rubiera, F., Pis, J.J. (2008). Influence of torrefaction on the grindability and reactivity of woody biomass. Fuel Proc Technol, 89(2),169-75.

Balat, M., Balat, M., Kirtay, E., Balat, H. (2009). Main routes for the thermo-conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals. Part 1: Pyrolysis systems. Energy Convers Manage, 50,3147-57.

Banzon, J.A. (1980). The coconut as a renewable energy. Philipp J. of Coconut studies. 5(1):31-36

Banzon, J.A. (1984). Harvestable energy from the coconut palm. Energy in Agriculture, 3,337-344.

Basu, P. (2010). Biomass Gasification and Pyrolysis: Practical Design. Academic Press: Burlington, MA, 2010.

Beekes, M., Cremers, M. (2012). Realising a co-firing dream. Power Eng Int , 20(8), 64-70.

Ben, H., Ragauskas, A.J. (2012). Torrefaction of Loblolly pine. Green Chem ,14,72-76.

Bergman, P., Kiel, J. (2005). Torrefaction for biomass upgrading; 14th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Paris, France, 17-21 October 2005

Bridgeman T.G., Jones, J.M., Shield, I., Williams, P.T. (2008). Torrefaction of reed canary grass, wheat straw and willow to enhance solid fuel qualities and combustion properties. Fuel, 87, 844–856.

Bridgewater, A.V. (2012). Review of fast pyrolysis of biomass and product upgrading. Biomass Bioenergy,38,68-94.

Brožek, M., Nováková A., Kolářová, M. (2012). Quality evaluation of briquettes made from wood waste, Research Agriculture Engineering, 58(1), 30–35.

Budarin, V.L., Milkowski, K.J., Shuttleworth, P., Lanigan, B., Clark, J.H., Macquarrie, D.J., Wilson, A. (2011) Microwave torrefaction of biomass, US Patent US 2011/021979 A1, 07.01.2010.

Chen, W.H., Lu, K.M., Tsai, C.M. (2012). An experimental analysis on property and structure variations of agricultural wastes undergoing torrefaction. Appl Energy, 100,318-25.

Ciolkosz, D., Wallace, R. (2011). A review of torrefaction for bioenergy feedstock production. Biofuel Bioprod Bior, 5(3),317-29.

Crocker, M.; Andrews, R. (2010). The Rationale for Biofuels. In Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass to Liquid Fuels and Chemicals, pp. 1-25. Crocker, M., Ed. RSC Publishing: Cambridge, 2010.

Davis, S.C., Anderson-Teixeira, K.J., De Lucia, E.H. (2009). Life-cycle analysis and the ecology of biofuels. Trends Plant Sci ,14,140-6.

Demirbas, A. (2001). Biomass resource facilities and biomass conversion processing for fuels and chemicals. Energy Conv Manage, 42,1357-78.

Dhungana, A. (2011). Torrefaction of biomass. MSc thesis. Halifax. Nova Scotia: Dalhousie University, p.151.

Fisher, T., Hajaligol, M., Waymack, B., Kellog, D. (2002). Pyrolysis behaviour and kinetics of biomass derived materials. J Anal Appl Pyrol, 62,331-49.

Herman, W.A. (2006). Quantifying global exergy resources. Energy ,31(12),1685-702

Karunanithy, C., Wang Y., Muthukumarappan K., Pugalendhi S. (2012). Physiochemical characterization of briquettes made from different feedstock's, Hindawi Publishing Corporation Biotechnology Research International, Article ID 165202, 12 pages.

Kiel, J., Zwart, R., Verhoeff, F. (2012). Torrefaction by ECN. In: Presentation to the SECTOR/IEA bioenergy torrefaction workshop, 20th European biomass conference and exhibition, June 21st , 2012, Milan, Italy.

Kim, Y., Lee, S., Lee, H., Lee, J. (2012). Physical and chemical characteristics of products from the torrefaction of yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). Bioresource Technol, 116,120-125.

Kleinschmidt, C.P. (2011). Overview of international developments in torrefaction. In: Paper presented at the IEA bioenergy task 32 and task 40 workshop on “development of torrefaction technologies and impacts on global bioenergy use and international bioenergy trade”. 28th of January 2011. Graz 2011.

Koukious E. G., Mavrokoukoulakis J., Abatzoglou N. Energy densification of biomass. Proceedings of 1st. National Conference on Soft Energy Forms;1982; Thessaloniki, Greece.

Li H., Liu X., Legros L., Bi X.T., Lim C.J., Sokhansanj S. (2012). Torrefaction of sawdust in a fluidized bed reactor. Bioresource. Technol. 103, 453-458.

Lu, G.Q., Toyoma, T., Kim, H.J., Naruse, I., Ohtake, K. (1997). Fundamental study on combustion characteristics of biobriquette. Kagaku Ronbun ,23,404-12.

Lu, K., Lee, W., Chen, W., Liu, S., Lin, T. (2012). Torrefaction and low temperature carbonization of oil palm fiber and eucalyptus in nitrogen and air atmospheres. Bioresource Technol ,123,98-105.

Medic, D., Darr, M., Shah, A., Potter, B., Zimmerman, J. (2012). Effects of torrefaction process parameters on biomass feedstock upgrading. Fuel, 91,147-54.

Melin, S. (2011). TORREFIED wood-a new emerging energy carrier. In: Presentation to clean coal power coalition CCPC March 9, 2011.

Mohan D., C.U. Pittman, P.H. Steele. (2006). Pyrolysis of wood/biomass for bio-oil: A critical review. Energ. Fuel, 20, 848-889.

Park, S-, Jang, C-. (2012). Effects of pyrolysis temperature on changes in fuel characteristics of biomass char. Energy, 39,187-95.

Patel, B., Gami, B., Bhimani, H. (2011). Improved fuel characteristics of cotton stalk, prosopis and sugarcane bagasse through torrefaction. Energy Sustain Dev, 15,272-5.

Phanphanich,M., Mani, S. (2011). Impact of torrefaction on the grindability and fuel characteristics of forest biomass. Bioresource Technol;102(2),1246-53.

Prins, M.J., Ptasinski, K.J., Janseen, FJJG. (2006). From coal to biomass gasification via torrefaction: comparison of thermodynamic efficiency. Energy,32(7),1248-59.

Prins, M.J., Ptasinski, K.J., Janseen, FJJG. (2006). More efficient biomass gasification via torrefaction. Energy, 31(15),3458-70.

Prins, M.J., Ptasinski, K.J., Janseen, FJJG. (2005). Energy and exergy analyses of the oxidation and gasification of carbon. Energy 30(7),982-1002.

Ramiah, M.V. (1970). Thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 14, 1323-1337.

Ren S., Lei H., Julson J., Wnag L., Bu Q., Ruan R. (2010). Microwave Torrefaction of Corn Stover. Paper 1110765. Annual International Meeting of the ASABE, Louisville, KN, 2010.

Rousset, P, Macedo, L., Commandre, J-, Moreira, A. (2012). Biomass torrefaction under different oxygen concentrations and its effect on the composition of the solid by-product. J Anal Appl Pyrol, 96,86-91.

Rousset, P., Fernandes, K., Vale, A., Macedo, L., Benoist, A. (2013). Change in particle size distribution of torrefied biomass during cold fluidization. Energy, 51,71-7.

Schorr, C., Muinonen, M., Nurminen, F. (2012). Torrefaction of biomass. Mikkeli, Finland: Mikteck Ltd/Ventre of Expertise-programme; p. 55.

Tumuluru, J.S., Sokhansanj, S., Wright, C.T., Boardman, R.D. (2010). Biomass torrefaction process review and moving bed torrefaction system model development. US: Idaho National Laboratory: 2010. p. 57. INL/EXT-10-19569-1.

Tumuluru, J.S., Sokhansanj, S., Wright, C.T., Hess, J.R., Boardman, R.D. (2011). A review on biomass torrefaction process and product properties. Symposium on thermochemical conversion. In: Symposium on thermochemical conversion, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, August 2nd, 2011. p.15.

Tumuluru, J.S., Hess, J.R., Boardman, R.D., Wright, C.T., Westover, T.L. (2012). Formulation pretreatment, and densification options to improve biomass specifications for co-firing high percentages with coal. Ind Biotechnol, 8(3),113-32.

Ustu, A., Faaij, A.P.C., Bergman, P.C.A. (2008). Pretreatment technologies, and their effect on international bioenergy supply chain logistics. Techno-economic evaluation of torrefaction, fast pyrolysis and pelletization. Energy, 33(8),1206-23.

Van der Stelt, M.J.C., Gerhauser, H., Kiel, J.H.A., Ptasinski, K.J. (2011). Biomass upgrading by torrefaction for the production of biofuels: A review. Biomass and Bioenergy 35, 3748-3762.

Van Essendelft, D.T., Zhou, X, Kang, B.S.-J. (2013). Grindability determination of torrefied biomass materials using the hybrid work index. Fuel, 105,103-11.

Wannapeera, J., Worasuwannarak, N. (2012). Upgrading of woody biomass by torefaction under pressure. J Anal Appl Pyrol, 96,173-80.

Worasuwannarak, N., Sonobe, T., Tanthapanichakoon, W. (2007). Pyrolysis behaviors of rice straw, rice husk, and corncob by TG-MS technique, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 78, 265-271.

Yaman, S., Sahan, M., Haykiri-Acma, H., Sesen, K., Kücükbayrak, S. (2000). Production of fuel briquettes from olive refuse and paper mill waste. Fuel Process Technol ,68,23-31.

Yaman, S., Sahan, M., Haykiri-Acma, H., Sesen, K., Kücükbayrak, S. (2001). Fuel briquettes from biomass-lignite blends. Fuel Process Technol, 72,1-8.

Yan, W., Acharjee, T.C., Coronella, C.J. Vásquez, V.R. (2009). Thermal pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Environ Prog Sustain Energy, 28(3),435-40.

Yan, W., Hastings, J., Acharjee, T., Coronella, C. and Vasquez, V. (2010). Mass and energy balances of wet torrefaction of lignocellulosic biomass. Energy & Fuel, 24, 4738–4742.

Zhang, Q., Chang J., Wand, T., Xu, Y. (2007). Review of biomass pyrolysis oil properties and upgrading research. Energy Convers Manage, 48, 87-92.

Zuniga, L.C., Pampolina, C. and Pampolina, E., (1965). Number of dried leaves falling per day, per hectare in a coconut plantation. Rep. .93. National Science Development Board, Philippines.


  • There are currently no refbacks.