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Research Papers

Size Reduction of Cellulosic Biomass in Biofuel Manufacturing: A Study on Confounding Effects of Particle Size and Biomass Crystallinity

[+] Author and Article Information
Meng Zhang

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,  Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506meng@ksu.edu

Xiaoxu Song

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,  Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506xiaoxu@ksu.edu

Pengfei Zhang

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,  Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506pengfei@ksu.edu

Z. J. Pei1

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,  Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506zpei@ksu.edu

T. W. Deines

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,  Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506tdeines@ksu.edu

Donghai Wang

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering,  Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506dwang@ksu.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 134(1), 011009 (Jan 12, 2012) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005433 History: Received May 04, 2011; Revised October 31, 2011; Published January 12, 2012; Online January 12, 2012

Biofuels derived from cellulosic biomass offer an alternative to petroleum-based liquid transportation fuels. In order to convert cellulosic biomass into biofuels, size reduction is a necessary step along with pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation. In the literature, there are inconsistent reports about why size reduction affects sugar yield (proportional to biofuel yield). An important reason for the inconsistence is that particle formation in current size reduction methods is not well controlled, causing effects of some biomass structural parameters confounded. In this study, a metal-cutting (milling) process is used for size reduction of poplar wood, where particle formation can be well controlled to prevent the effects of multiple parameters from being confounded. The results of this study provide explanations for some inconsistent reports in the literature. These results also reveal some opportunities for future research to understand the effects of size reduction on cellulosic biofuel manufacturing.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Major steps in conversion of cellulosic biomass to biofuels (after Drapcho [10])

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Figure 2

Illustration of hammer milling (after Hakkila [22])

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Figure 3

Illustration of ball milling (after Fuerstenau [25])

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Figure 4

Illustration of knife milling (after Retsch, Inc. [27])

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Figure 5

Picture of the milling cutter

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Figure 6

Experimental setup

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Figure 7

Illustration of three directions of wood and three cutting orientations

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Figure 8

Illustration of a biomass particle (not to scale)

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Figure 29

Relationship between sugar yield and particle volume

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Figure 28

Relationship between sugar yield and particle width

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Figure 27

Relationship between sugar yield and particle length

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Figure 26

Relationship between sugar yield and particle thickness

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Figure 25

Relationship between biomass crystallinity index and particle volume

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Figure 24

Relationship between biomass crystallinity index and particle width

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Figure 23

Relationship between biomass crystallinity index and particle length

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Figure 22

Relationship between biomass crystallinity index and particle thickness

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Figure 21

Relationship between sugar yield and biomass crystallinity index

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Figure 20

Relationship between sugar yield and particle (chip) thickness ratio

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Figure 19

Relationship between biomass crystallinity index and particle (chip) thickness ratio

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Figure 18

Results on particle (chip) thickness ratio, cutting orientation: O1, O2, and O3; depth of cut: 0.1, 0.25, and 0.35 in. (2.5, 6.4, and 8.9 mm)

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Figure 17

Results on particle volume, cutting orientation: O1, O2, and O3; depth of cut: 0.1, 0.25, and 0.35 in. (2.5, 6.4, and 8.9 mm)

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Figure 16

Results on particle length, cutting orientation: O1, O2, and O3; depth of cut: 0.1, 0.25, and 0.35 in. (2.5, 6.4, and 8.9 mm)

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Figure 15

Results on particle width, cutting orientation: O1, O2, and O3; depth of cut: 0.1, 0.25, and 0.35 in. (2.5, 6.4, and 8.9 mm)

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Figure 14

Results on particle thickness, cutting orientation: O1, O2, and O3; depth of cut: 0.1, 0.25, and 0.35 in. (2.5, 6.4, and 8.9 mm)

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Figure 13

Four steps in sugar yield measurement

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Figure 12

Crystalline and amorphous regions in cellulose (after Hu [40])

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Figure 11

Illustration of particle (chip) formation

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Figure 10

Simplified calculation of particle volume

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Figure 9

Measurement of particle dimension (not to scale)

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