1.1 Background of study
In the background of the alarms being raised by various interest groups and stakeholders over the continued degradation of the environment, no thanks to the uncontrolled use of fossil fuels on the one hand and the cost of petroleum on the other, there has been a growing trend in the search for alternative sources of energy which are considered to be cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Wood fuel (firewood and charcoal) is once again being appreciated(Khider et al., 2012). Wood has the flexibility of being modified into various forms that are convenient to use like charcoal, liquid fuels (methanol and ethanol) and producer gas (carbon monoxide and nitrogen) (ramachandra et al., 2005). They also reported that Charcoal is mainly made of carbon and is obtained from the destructive distillation of wood with a relatively high-energy value of 28.9 GJ/tonne. In terms of potential energy per kilogram therefore, this value is definitely higher than that for raw wood (keita,J.D., 1987). Charcoal has a steady burning and produces less smoke and less unhealthy vapours compared to raw wood(Meathead,G. 2013). Other advantages of using charcoal as a bio-fuel include its negligible sulphur content (unlike other fossil fuels), its higher heating value (heat of combustion), lower water content when compared with ordinary wood, and a relative stability in the presence of microbial agents (Tancredi et al., 2010).
Since it may be argued that the resulting properties of charcoal are a function of the chemical properties of the biomass source, it becomes therefore expedient to examine certain parameters that determine the final properties of charcoal with respect to different types of woods available in our local environment so as to make the best choice of species for its production. One of such parameters is the calorific value of the biomass in question. For example, if the thesis that the heating value of the charcoal is dependent on the chemical structure of the
parent wood is accepted, then we may seek to determine experimentally the higher heating value which we suppose is a function of wood composition in order to approximate the energy content of a particular species of wood. The present work investigated the calorific value of 5 tropical trees in correlation with their chemical composition.
1.2 Statement of problem
Due to the negative environmental impact with respect to harmful emissions of oxides of sulphur, there is need to evaluate calorific value of tropical wood trees as credible source of fuel. This is important so as to avoid the emissions of this gases that affect plants and animals.
1.3 Scope of study
This research involved the collection of five wood samples(saw dust), and evaluating their calorific value. The analysis, based on the percentage content of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, oxygen, hydrogen and ash content using muffle furnace, petri dish, oven, platinum crucible, dessicator, soxhlet extractor.
1.4 Aim of study
The aim of this study is to ascertain the calorific value of wood as a credible source of fuel
1.5 Objectives of study
The objectives of their study are:
- To determine the calorific value of the five wood samples
- To determine their CNHOS percentage contents
- To also determine their ash content to see how it affects the heating value of the wood samples
- To know which of these samples are credible for use as fuel
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