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Effect of Microwave Pretreatment on Densification of Wheat Straw

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009051.(doi:10.13031/2013.29792)
Authors:   Mahdi Kashaninejad, Batool Kashaninejad, Lope G Tabil
Keywords:   Keywords: Microwave pretreatment, chemical pretreatment, wheat straw, densification

Densification of biomass materials is an effective method to improve handling characteristics, reduce transportation costs, enhance volumetric calorific value and improve control over combustion processes. Alteration of the physical/chemical structure of biomass materials is required to free up the natural chemicals compounds that are known to contribute to binding. Thus, the pretreatment of lignocellulosic materials is necessary to improve particle binding and compaction. The objectives of this study were to examine the feasibility of microwave and microwave/alkali pretreatments to enhance densification process of wheat. Pretreatments were carried out by immersing the ground wheat straw in water, dilute sodium hydroxide (1 and 2%) and dilute calcium hydroxide (1 and 2%) solutions and exposing the slurry to different levels of microwave radiation power. Following pretreatment of samples at different conditions, the materials were compressed in a plunger-die assembly with a force of 4000 N. Compressed sample dimensions and mass were measured to calculate pellet density. The tensile strength of the pellets was also evaluated via the diametric compression test. The results showed that the microwave/alkali pretreated pellets had a significantly higher density and tensile strength than the untreated or samples pretreated by microwave alone.

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