Pellets derived from Eucalyptus nitens residue: physical, chemical, and thermal characterization for a clean combustion product made in Chile

As the southernmost country in Latin America, Chile has more than 12 cities on alert for particle pollution. These warnings are issued according to the air quality index, which is partly based on the concentration of coarse and fine particles. Coupled with this, there is also a significant need to use renewable energy for heating. This study describes the production of pellets using Eucalyptus nitens (H. Deane & Maiden) Maiden sawdust for use as a heating fuel. Pinus radiata D. Don was also included to produce the profile that is required for commercial-grade fuel pellets. Finally, we also suggest the use of sodium lignosulfonate as a natural binder to complement the low adhesiveness of the main raw material (E. nitens), as well as enhance the calorific value of the mixture. The results reveal that the different mixtures of eucalyptus and pine were all satisfactory, regardless of their proportions. The pellets made with sodium lignosulfonate proved to have a high calorific value, making them an attractive product; however, the formulations also had a high level of ash content (1.15% to 1.85%), which is close to the limit allowed by international standards.

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