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Title: Method to produce durable pellets at lower energy consumption using high moisture corn stover and a corn starch binder in a flat die pellet mill

Abstract

Biomass from plants can serve as an alternative renewable energy resources for energy production. Low densities of 40–60 kg/m3 for ground lignocellulosic biomass like corn stover limit its operation for energy purposes. The common drawbacks are inefficient transportation, a bigger storage foot print, and handling problems. Densification of biomass using pellet mill helps to overcome these limitations. This study helps to understand the effect of binder on high moisture biomass with a focus on the quality (density and durability), the pelleting efficiency and the specific energy consumption of its pelleting process. Raw corn stover was pelleted at high moisture of 33% (w.b.) at both varying preheating temperatures and binder percentage. The die speed of the pellet mill was set at 60Hz. The pellets produced were analyzed and showed higher moisture content. They were further dried in a laboratory oven at 70°C for 3-4 hr bringing the pellet moisture to <9%. The dried pellets were evaluated for their physical properties like unit, bulk and tapped density, and durability. Furthermore, the results indicated increasing the binder percentage to 4% improved the physical properties of the pellets and reduced the specific energy consumption. Higher binder addition of 4% reduced the feedstock moisture lossmore » during pelleting to <4%, which can be due reduced residence time of the material in the die. On the other hand the physical properties like density and durability improved significantly with binder addition. At 4% binder and 33% feedstock moisture content, the bulk density and durability values observed were >510 kg/m3 and >98% and the percent fines generation has reduced to <3%. Also at these conditions the specific energy consumption was reduced by about 30-40% compared no binder pelleting test.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1357453
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-15-36458
Journal ID: ISSN 1940-087X; jove
Grant/Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Visualized Experiments
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Issue: 112; Journal ID: ISSN 1940-087X
Publisher:
MyJoVE Corp.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; corn stover; starch binder; high moisture pelleting; process variables; pellet properties; specific energy consumption; environmental sciences; Issue 112

Citation Formats

Tumuluru, Jaya Shankar, Conner, Craig C., and Hoover, Amber N.. Method to produce durable pellets at lower energy consumption using high moisture corn stover and a corn starch binder in a flat die pellet mill. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3791/54092.
Tumuluru, Jaya Shankar, Conner, Craig C., & Hoover, Amber N.. Method to produce durable pellets at lower energy consumption using high moisture corn stover and a corn starch binder in a flat die pellet mill. United States. doi:10.3791/54092.
Tumuluru, Jaya Shankar, Conner, Craig C., and Hoover, Amber N.. Wed . "Method to produce durable pellets at lower energy consumption using high moisture corn stover and a corn starch binder in a flat die pellet mill". United States. doi:10.3791/54092. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1357453.
@article{osti_1357453,
title = {Method to produce durable pellets at lower energy consumption using high moisture corn stover and a corn starch binder in a flat die pellet mill},
author = {Tumuluru, Jaya Shankar and Conner, Craig C. and Hoover, Amber N.},
abstractNote = {Biomass from plants can serve as an alternative renewable energy resources for energy production. Low densities of 40–60 kg/m3 for ground lignocellulosic biomass like corn stover limit its operation for energy purposes. The common drawbacks are inefficient transportation, a bigger storage foot print, and handling problems. Densification of biomass using pellet mill helps to overcome these limitations. This study helps to understand the effect of binder on high moisture biomass with a focus on the quality (density and durability), the pelleting efficiency and the specific energy consumption of its pelleting process. Raw corn stover was pelleted at high moisture of 33% (w.b.) at both varying preheating temperatures and binder percentage. The die speed of the pellet mill was set at 60Hz. The pellets produced were analyzed and showed higher moisture content. They were further dried in a laboratory oven at 70°C for 3-4 hr bringing the pellet moisture to <9%. The dried pellets were evaluated for their physical properties like unit, bulk and tapped density, and durability. Furthermore, the results indicated increasing the binder percentage to 4% improved the physical properties of the pellets and reduced the specific energy consumption. Higher binder addition of 4% reduced the feedstock moisture loss during pelleting to <4%, which can be due reduced residence time of the material in the die. On the other hand the physical properties like density and durability improved significantly with binder addition. At 4% binder and 33% feedstock moisture content, the bulk density and durability values observed were >510 kg/m3 and >98% and the percent fines generation has reduced to <3%. Also at these conditions the specific energy consumption was reduced by about 30-40% compared no binder pelleting test.},
doi = {10.3791/54092},
journal = {Journal of Visualized Experiments},
number = 112,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jun 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Wed Jun 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

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  • The quality and specific energy consumption (SEC) of the biomass pellets produced depend upon pelleting process conditions. The present study includes understanding the effect of feedstock moisture in the range of 28–38% (wet basis [w.b.]) and preheating in the range of 30–110°C at two die speeds of 40 and 60 Hz on the physical properties and SEC. A flat die pellet mill fitted with a 6 mm die was used in the present study. The physical properties of pellets such as moisture content, unit, bulk and tapped density, durability, and expansion ratio and SEC of the pelleting process are measured.more » The results indicate that the pellets produced have durability values in the range of 87–98%, and unit bulk and tapped density in the range of 670–1100, 375–575, and 420–620 kg/m³. Increasing the feedstock moisture content from 33% to 38% (w.b) decreased the unit, bulk and tapped density by about 30–40%. Increasing feedstock moisture content increased the expansion ratio and decreased the density values. A higher feedstock moisture content of 38% (w.b.) and higher preheating temperature of 110°C resulted in lower density and a higher expansion ratio, which can be attributed to flash off of moisture as the material extrudes out of the die. The SEC was in the range of 75–275 kWh/ton. Higher feedstock moisture content of 38% (w.b.) and a lower die speed of 40 Hz increased the SEC, whereas lower to medium preheating temperature (30–70°C), medium feedstock moisture content of 33% (w.b.), and a higher die speed of 60 Hz minimized the SEC to <100 kWh/ton.« less
  • In the present study a Box–Behnken experimental design was used to understand the effect of the moisture content of lodgepole pine grind (33–39%, w.b.), die speed (40–60 Hz) and preheating temperature (30–90 °C) on the pellet quality and specific energy consumption. The partially dried pellets produced had high-moisture content in the range of 19–28% (w.b.), and were further dried to <9% (w.b.) in a mechanical oven set at 70 °C for 3 h. Dried pellets were further evaluated for pellet moisture content, unit, bulk, tapped density, and durability. Response surface models developed for the product properties have adequately described themore » process based on coefficient of determination values. Surface plots developed indicated higher unit, bulk, and tapped density (1050, 520, 560 kg/m 3) are achievable at 33–35% (w.b.) moisture content of the lodgepole pine grind, die speed of 60 Hz and preheating temperature of 30–60 °C. Higher moisture content of 39% (w.b) reduced unit, bulk, and tapped density to <912, 396, and 452 kg/m 3. Higher durability values of >95% were obtained at 33–35% (w.b.) at lower preheating temperatures of 30–50 °C and higher die speed of >50 Hz. At 33% (w.b.) moisture content of the lodgepole pine grind, preheating temperature of 90 °C, and die speed of 60 Hz, the observed specific energy consumption was <116 kW h/ton. As a result, scanning electron microscope studies indicated that lignin crosslinking is the primary reason for binding of the lodgepole pine grind at high-moisture content.« less
  • A flat die pellet mill was used to understand the effect of high levels of feedstock moisture content in the range of 28–38% (w.b.), with die rotational speeds of 40–60 Hz, and preheating temperatures of 30–110 °C on the pelleting characteristics of 4.8 mm screen size ground corn stover using an 8 mm pellet die. The physical properties of the pelletised biomass studied are: (a) pellet moisture content, (b) unit, bulk and tapped density, and (c) durability. Pelletisation experiments were conducted based on central composite design. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that feedstock moisture content influenced all of the physicalmore » properties at P < 0.001. Pellet moisture content decreased with increase in preheating temperature to about 110 °C and decreasing the feedstock moisture content to about 28% (w.b.). Response surface models developed for quality attributes with respect to process variables has adequately described the process with coefficient of determination (R2) values of >0.88. The other pellet quality attributes such as unit, bulk, tapped density, were maximised at feedstock moisture content of 30–33% (w.b.), die speeds of >50 Hz and preheating temperature of >90 °C. In case of durability a medium moisture content of 33–34% (w.b.) and preheating temperatures of >70 °C and higher die speeds >50 Hz resulted in high durable pellets. It can be concluded from the present study that feedstock moisture content, followed by preheating, and die rotational speed are the interacting process variables influencing pellet moisture content, unit, bulk and tapped density and durability.« less
  • Biomass preprocessing and pretreatment technologies such as size reduction and chemical preconditioning are aimed at reducing the cost of ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. Size reduction is an energy-intensive biomass preprocessing unit operation. In this study, switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover were chopped in an instrumented knife mill to evaluate size reduction energy and corresponding particle size distribution as determined with a standard forage sieve analyzer. Direct mechanical power inputs were determined using a dedicated data acquisition system for knife mill screen openings from 12.7 to 50.8 mm, rotor speeds between 250 and 500 rpm, and mass feed ratesmore » from 1 to 11 kg/min. A speed of 250 rpm gave optimum performance of the mill. Optimum feed rates for 25.4 mm screen and 250 rpm were 7.6, 5.8, and 4.5 kg/min for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover, respectively. Total specific energy (MJ/Mg) was defined as the size reduction energy required to operate the knife mill plus that imparted to the biomass. Effective specific energy was defined as the energy imparted to the biomass. For these conditions, total specific energies were 27.3, 37.9, and 31.9 MJ/Mg and effective specific energies were 10.1, 15.5, and 3.2 MJ/Mg for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover, respectively. These results demonstrated that biomass selection affects the size reduction energy, even for biomass with similar features. Second-order polynomial equations for the total specific energy requirement fitted well (R2 > 0.95) as a function of knife mill screen size, mass feed rate, and speed for biomass materials tested. The Rosin-Rammler equation fitted the cumulative undersize mass of switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover chop passed through ASABE sieves with high R2 (>0.983). Knife mill chopping of switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover resulted in particle size distributions classified as 'well-graded strongly fine-skewed mesokurtic', 'well-graded fine-skewed mesokurtic', and 'well-graded fine-skewed mesokurtic', respectively, for small knife mill screen sizes (12.7 to 25.4 mm) and distributions classified as 'well-graded fine-skewed mesokurtic', 'well-graded strongly fine-skewed mesokurtic', and 'well-graded fine-skewed mesokurtic', respectively, for the large screen size (50.8 mm). Total and effective specific energy values per unit size reduction of wheat straw were greater compared to those for switchgrass. Corn stover resulted in reduced total and effective specific energy per unit size reduction compared to wheat straw for the same operating conditions, but higher total specific energy per unit size reduction and lesser effective specific energy per unit size reduction compared to switchgrass. Data on minimized total specific energy with corresponding particle spectra will be useful for preparing feed material with a knife mill for subsequent grinding with finer size reduction devices.« less