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Size Reduction of Cellulosic Biomass in Biofuel Manufacturing: Effects of Biomass Crystallinity and Particle Size

[+] Author Affiliations
Meng Zhang, Xiaoxu Song, P. F. Zhang, Z. J. Pei, T. Deines

Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Paper No. IMECE2011-64059, pp. 547-553; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Design and Manufacturing
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5489-1
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Gradual depletion of world petroleum reserves and increasing environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions make it urgent to develop sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based transportation fuels. Cellulosic biofuels provide one such alternative in the short to medium term. In order to convert cellulosic biomass into biofuels, size reduction is a necessary step. In the literature, there are inconsistent reports about the effects of particle size and biomass crystallinity on sugar yield (proportional to biofuel yield). An important reason for this inconsistence is that particle formation in current size reduction methods is not well controlled, causing the effects of these two variables confounded. This paper presents an experimental study on size reduction of poplar wood using a lathe, where particle formation could be well controlled to prevent the effects of these two variables from being confounded. In this study, particle size was controlled by different numbers of slots cut on the workpiece. Particles with the same crystallinity but different particle sizes were produced. This will make it possible to study the effects of particle size on biofuel yield independently, and reveal future research opportunities to understand the effects of size reduction in cellulosic biofuel manufacturing.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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