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Transforming and Densifying Biomass in Regional Biomass Processing Centers (RBPC)


Pretreated corn stover and switchgrass

SDSU (K. Muthukumarappan, W. Gibbons, J. Julson, J. Gonzalez, M. Twedt), NDSU (S. Pryor), MSU (B. Dale, C. Saffron), SDSMT (L. Christopher), Federal Machine (J. Flaherty Sr.)

Research Statement/Motivation

The goal of this proposal is to develop and validate the performance of an integrated biomass pretreatment and densification process that will reduce the logistical hurdles facing second generation biofuels. This process will link Ammonia Fiber Expansion (AFEX) pretreatment with a novel compaction process to produce densified biomass particles (PAKs) that: 1) retain their original composition, 2) have a density approximately 10 times that of baled biomass, and 3) eliminate the need for further pretreatment at the processing plant. This will minimize the distance that low density feedstock bales will be transported. Densified PAKS will then be more efficiently transported to centralized processing facilities.

Research Methods/Specific Project Objectives

  1. Optimize AFEX conditions for corn stover, switchgrass, and prairie cordgrass to simultaneously enhance binding properties and increase hydrolysis efficiency following densification and storage.
  2. Determine optimal ComPAKco operating conditions to convert pretreated biomass into densified PAKS, while minimizing energy requirements.
  3. Evaluate the effects of short and long term storage of the PAKS on physical characteristics (e.g., flowability, compression strength, water solubility and absorption, etc).
  4. Determine the effects of densification and storage on rates and yields of hydrolysis and fermentation.
  5. Conduct economic and energy analyses of process to determine optimal and minimal scale.

NDSU will be responsible for testing simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of the various feedstocks before and after pretreatment and densification to confirm that densification does not have an adverse impact on downstream processing for ethanol production.

Major Results and Conclusions

This project has received funding through the North Central Sun Grant Center at SDSU and is commencing in Fall 2009.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Published by the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 02, 2014 9:29:12 AM