The cost of transporting wood chips by truck and by pipeline as a water slurry was determined. In a practical application of field delivery by truck of biomass to a pipeline inlet, the pipeline will only be economical at large capacity (>0.5 million dry t/yr for a one-way pipeline, and >1.25 million dry t/yr for a two-way pipeline that returns the carrier fluid to the pipeline inlet), and at medium to long distances (>75 km [one-way] and >470 km [two-way] at a capacity of 2 million dry t/yr). Mixed hardwood and softwood chips in western Canada rise in moisture level from about 50% to 67% when transported in water; the loss in lower heating value (LHV) would preclude the use of water slurry pipelines for direct combustion applications. The same chips, when transported in a heavy gas oil, take up as much as 50% oil by weight and result in a fuel that is >30% oil on mass basis and is about two-thirds oil on a thermal basis. Uptake of water by straw during slurry transport is so extreme that it has effectively no LHV. Pipeline-delivered biomass could be used in processes that do not produce contained water as a vapor, such as supercritical water gasification.
Index EntriesWood chips pipeline biomass lower heating value straw
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