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Development of a Roller-Belt Extractor for Chop-Harvested Sweet Sorghum

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 53(5): 1631-1638. (doi: 10.13031/2013.34884) @2010
Authors:   X. Z. Sun, N. Yamana, M. Dohi, N. Nakata
Keywords:   Chemical composition, Extraction test, Extractor, Silage, Sweet sorghum

Sweet sorghum has the potential to be used as a renewable energy crop, but its short harvest period, poor storability, and higher transportation costs have prevented it from being utilized. It is possible to chop-harvest sweet sorghum, extract the juice, ferment the juice to ethanol, and ensile bagasse as fodder. A suitable extractor is the key component for implementing this method. Thus, a roller-belt extractor suitable for chop-harvested sweet sorghum was designed and built. Extraction tests were conducted using an orthogonal design in order to determine the optimum parameters of the extractor. The extraction ratio (juice mass to input mass) of the developed extractor increased with reduced cut length, decreased drive roller speed, and increased feed rate. The mean extraction ratio was 19.7% 1.1% (mean SD) when the theoretical cut length was set to 17 mm, the drive roller speed to 6.3 rpm, and the feed rate to 1000 kg h-1 (optimum parameters). In addition, bagasse and chopped plants were ensiled in airproof drums for 70 days as fodder. The compositions of chopped plants and bagasse, chopped-plant silage, and bagasse silage of sweet sorghum were compared. Results indicated that the NO3-N content of bagasse silage was less than that of chopped-plant silage, implying that juice extraction improved the quality of sweet sorghum silage. These results will help in optimizing the sweet sorghum utilization system and promote the use of sweet sorghum.

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