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Strategies to Improve Durability of Switchgrass Briquettes

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  076182.(doi:10.13031/2013.24036)
Authors:   N Kaliyan, R V Morey
Keywords:   Biomass, Briquettes, Densification, Durability, Feed Binders, Switchgrass

The effects of fine grinding of switchgrass, adding biomass based binders (corn stover, corn Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS), and starch), and mixing commercial chemical feed binders (lignin-sulfonate, lime, and sodium bentonite) on the switchgrass briquette durability were investigated using a uniaxial, piston-cylinder densification apparatus. At a forming pressure of 150 MPa, preheating of switchgrass to 100oC without adding any binders improved the briquette durability to 67% compared to the briquette durability of 0% without preheating. In addition to preheating to 100oC, either mixing of 20% (wt.) of corn stover or 2% (wt.) of lignin-sulfonate based binders or 5% (wt.) lime produced switchgrass briquettes with durability of about 80%. Preheating was essential to fully activate the binding agents added to the feedstock. In commercial-scale pelleting/briquetting of switchgrass, at the optimized particle size (0.49 to 0.89 mm), moisture content (=10% wet basis), and preheating temperature (=75oC), switchgrass pellets/briquettes with durability of =80% could be produced by activating the natural binders in the switchgrass, without adding any binding agents.

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