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Evaluation of Hybrid Poplar and Salix (Salix) Biomass for Pellet Production

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009799.(doi:10.13031/2013.29996)
Authors:   Pak Sui Lam, Pak Yiu Lam, Shahab Sokhansanj, Xiaotao Bi, C Jim Lim, Derek Sidders, Staffan Melin
Keywords:   Short Rotation Woody Crop, SRWC, Salix, Hybrid Poplar, Pellets

The physical characteristics of 3 year old chipped Hybrid Poplar (HP) and Salix (Salix) stems and pellets made from these feedstocks were determined. Four species of HP and six species of Salix were tested. The moisture content of asreceived biomass for HP ranged from 12.1 to 52% w.b. and for Salix ranged from 13.6 to 43.4 % w.b. The bulk density of chipped material ranged from a high of 178 kg/m3 for Salix to a low of 22.21 kg/m3 of HP (Hybrid poplar mix with twigs). The low bulk density corresponded to the low moisture content. Pellets were made on a 6.2 mm die California Pellet Mill. Pellets made from both Salix and HP were dense with a specific gravity of 1.1. to 1.3 and bulk density from 557 to 701 kg/m3. Salix pellets showed a wider range in density. Pellets made from HP and Salix made were durable on DURAL Scale ranging from 74.9 % to 91.1 %. The lowest value belonged to Salix Mix. Pure wood chip as feedstock produced better pellets than pellets made from mix of plant parts (branches and stem). Pellets were ranked using the following characteristics: heating value, durability, rate of production, bulk density, particle density, and color. Lighter color had a better grade than the darker color. For each property a mark between 1 to 10 was assigned to pellets. Pellets made from one species of Hybrid Poplar came on the top followed by two Salix species, two HP species, four Salix and one HP. It is concluded that both varieties make an overall acceptable pellets but the final pellet quality depends on the quality of initial raw material.

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