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Title: Impact of Collection Equipment on Ash Variability of Baled Corn Stover Biomass for Bioenergy

Cost-effective conversion of agricultural residues for renewable energy hinges not only on the material’s quality but also the biorefinery’s ability to reliably measure quality specifications. The ash content of biomass is one such specification, influencing pretreatment and disposal costs for the conversion facility and the overall value of a delivered lot of biomass. The biomass harvest process represents a primary pathway for accumulation of soil-derived ash within baled material. In this work, the influence of five collection techniques on the total ash content and variability of ash content within baled corn stover in southwest Kansas is discussed. The equipment tested included a mower for cutting the corn stover stubble, a basket rake, wheel rake, or shred flail to gather the stover, and a mixed or uniform in-feed baler for final collection. The results showed mean ash content to range from 11.5 to 28.2 % depending on operational choice. Resulting impacts on feedstock costs for a biochemical conversion process range from $5.38 to $22.30 Mg-1 based on the loss of convertible dry matter and ash disposal costs. Collection techniques that minimized soil contact (shred flail or nonmowed stubble) were shown to prevent excessive ash contamination, whereas more aggressive techniques (mowing andmore » use of a wheel rake) caused greater soil disturbance and entrainment within the final baled material. Material sampling and testing were shown to become more difficult as within-bale ash variability increased, creating uncertainty around feedstock quality and the associated costs of ash mitigation.« less
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Publication Date:
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Report Number(s):
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: BioEnergy Research; Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 3
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS ash content; bales; biomass; Corn stover; soil contamination