This paper is part of a sustainable development approach, the aim being to develop a thermochemical energy recovery path while reducing the amount of tomato waste issued from agro-industrial units. The thermal process may contribute to an environmentally friendly management and help tomato processing industries creating new economic profitable circuits in an increasingly competitive context. The adopted approach was to follow the operating conditions needed for a complete thermal degradation through a thermal and kinetic analyses. The results of the tomato waste characterization confirmed their suitability to a thermochemical processing with high volatiles and fixed carbon and interesting high heating values comparable to sawdust biomass. We were able to isolate of the decomposition domains and extract kinetic parameters. Three kinetic models were applied; Flynn⁻Wall⁻Ozawa (FWO) simulated the best the combustion process. Calculated curves were validated by the first order (n = 1) model except for the slow heating rate of 5 °C/min which was fitted by the contracted cylinder model. The conclusions of this paper could help in optimizing the combustion process in order to achieve high energy recovery from tomato residues. Obtained kinetic data would help in the design of combustion reactors.
Keywords: combustion; kinetics; thermal analysis; tomato waste.