Samples of wood pellets were adjusted into six water content classes from 0% to 12%. The water content in single pellets varied between 0.1% and 14.2%. Three equations were constructed to estimate the differential heat of sorption (-ΔH) values from (1) fractal-geometry, (2) isosteric, and (3) calorimetric data. The ranges in calculated -ΔH of single pellets were (1) 133–1475, (2) 315–881, and (3) 195–1188 J g-1 water, respectively, across the studied moisture content range. Partial least squares regression was used to model near-infrared (NIR) spectra from single pellets and to predict -ΔH values and water content. The explained variation in test sets for the different models ranged from 97.1% to 99.9%. The shifts in peak absorbance for two water bands indicated that frequency in overtone vibration of O-H stretching and bending decreased, when water content was raised. Simulations of mixes between pellets of differential heat values showed that released heat was up to 0.03% of the gross calorific value of wood pellets. This heat may be a major contributor to initial temperature increases in pellet stacks during storage. The results indicate that on-line NIR based predictions of differential heat in wood pellets is possible to apply in the pellet industry.
©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York