For obtaining high shale oil yield as well as treating shale char efficiently and in an environmentally friendly way in a new comprehensive utilization system of oil shale, a series of fundamental experiments have been conducted for exploring the effects of retorting factors on shale oil yield and shale char characteristics. Based on these previous studies, in this article, combustion experiments of shale chars obtained under various retorting conditions were performed with a Q5000IR thermogravimetric analyzer and a Leitz II-A heatable stage microscope and the effects of retorting factors were discussed on the combustion characteristics of shale char. Among four studied retorting parameters, retorting temperature and residence time exert very significant influence on the combustion characteristics of shale char. Either elevating the retorting temperature from 430 to 520 °C or lengthening the residence time at a low retorting temperature will largely decrease residual organic matters within shale char, resulting in decreasing mass loss in the low-temperature stage of combustion process of shale char, an elevation of ignition temperature and a shift of ignition mechanism from homogeneous to heterogeneous. One set of retorting condition was also recommended as a reference for designing the comprehensive utilization system of oil shale studied in this work: retort temperature of 460–490 °C, residence time of 20–40 min, particle size of <3 mm, and low heating rate of <10 °C/min.
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