The Advantages of Palm Kernel Shells as Biomass Fuel
The Palm Oil Plant produces an edible fruit similar to an apricot which has inside a nut. During the crude palm oil process the fruit’s flesh is melted through a steaming treatment in the oil press mill. The residual nuts are further mechanically crashed to extract the seeds or Kernels. The crashed shells are called Palm Kernel Shells (PKS),which can be considered like natural pellets and a high grade solid renewable fuel for burning, as received, both in co-firing with steam coal or burned at biomass power plants, usually blended with other grades of biomass, like wood chips or wood pellets.
With the development of economy, more and more countries which need fuel choose palm kernel shells instead of sawdust as the biomass fuel because of their numerous advantages over sawdust:
First, palm kernel shells are a virgin biomass with a high calorific value (typical about 4,200 Kcal/kg – 4,600Kcal/kg). Besides, Palm kernel shells contain residues of Palm Oil, which accounts for its slightly higher heating value than average lignocelluloses Biomass.
Second, Compared to other residues from the industry, it is a good quality Biomass fuel with uniform size distribution, easy handling and easy crushing.
Third, the natural density of palm kernel shell can be 1.1g/cm³(it is typically 0.6 for sawdust), light quality and small in size, so it is convenient to store and transport .
Forth, it is a kind of renewable clean energy. It has a very low ash and sulphur contents: ash content is typically about 3% weight and sulphur content is about 0.09% weight.So when burning it won’t release harmful gases and greenhouse gases into the environment.
Fifth, choosing palm kernel shell instead of sawdust as biomass fuel, the investment is less and the construction cycle is shorter.
Sixth , palm kernel shell can be used with coal to generate thermal power with lower coal consume and less carbon dioxide emission, which is specially suitable for industries which use coal as fuel, such as cement industry and power generating industry.
Seventh , the palm kernel shell can be made into high-performance activated charcoal which can be used to recover solvent, clean the air, purify the water, decolor the food,catalyst carrier and so on.
Up to this day, in many countries, including Britain, the Netherlands and Italy, there are more and more manufacturing plants begin to use the palm kernel shell to cope with the rising fuel price and cut down the carbon dioxide emission.