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Heating processes during storage of Miscanthus chip piles and numerical simulations to predict self-ignition

Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
DOI: 10.1016/j.jlp.2014.06.003
  • Miscanthus X Giganteus
  • Hot Storage Test
  • Respirometric Rates
  • Self-Heating
  • Self-Ignition
  • Numerical Simulations
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Miscanthus x Giganteus (Miscanthus) energy crop was examined at laboratory scale to assess its self-heating and self-ignition risks during storage. Chipped Miscanthus (18 mm) from February and March harvests, in 2012, were assessed as well as ground Miscanthus (3 mm) from the March harvest. February and March crops had moisture contents of 41.6 and 20.2%, respectively. Self-ignition temperatures were independent of moisture although moisture did affect the time from the beginning of storage until storage temperature was reached. Ground Miscanthus had lower self-ignition temperatures than chipped Miscanthus. Isothermal respirometric tests carried out showed increase risk of self-heating in the February crop compared to the March crop due to increased microbial activity. Numerical simulations were used to determine critical enhanced start temperatures, e.g. caused by microbial decomposition, of the stored Miscanthus. Safe storage conditions have been derived from the investigations. The numerical simulations demonstrated that self-ignition was possible in Miscanthus chip piles with a height greater than 6 m if there was significant heat release from microbiological activity. Reliable assessment of self-heating and self-ignition risks in large scale Miscanthus energy crop clamps or piles are required to prevent losses due to decomposition and fire damage.

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