Volatile organic compounds emitted from hardwood drying as a function of processing parameters

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During the drying of wood, volatile organic compounds are emitted. These emissions contribute, in the presence of nitrogen oxides and sunlight, to the formation of ground level ozone and other harmful photo-oxidants. Emissions of volatile organic compounds from the drying of birch sawdust in a spouted bed were analyzed with a flame ionization detector and with a gas chromatograph-mass pectrometer. A D-optimal model of the emissions showed that the emissions increased exponentially with decreasing sawdust moisture content and that the final sawdust moisture content was influencing emissions about twice as much as the inlet drying medium temperature and the month of logging. At inlet temperatures of 140-170 °C, the emissions increased steeply when the moisture content of the sawdust reached 10%, whereas an inlet temperature of 200 °C caused a surge of thermal degradation products at 15% moisture content. The results of this study should help to reduce the emissions of volatile hydrocarbons during the drying of hardwood sawdust and wood chips.

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