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Effects of Moisture Content and Binder Addition on Pelletization of Untreated and Torrefied Corn Stover

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

Citation:  Paper number  131614865,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13031/aim.20131614865) @2013
Authors:   Jeremy D Brue, Matthew J Darr, Dorde Medic, Zach Bartlett
Keywords:   Pellet Production, Torrefaction, Corn Stover, Durability

Abstract. Cellulosic feedstocks are gaining interest as potential sources for biofuel production. However, use of these feedstocks have presented new challenges, especially in the areas of transportation and storage. Issues of low bulk density, particle size irregularity, and high energy inputs for processing must be addressed. Pretreatments such as torrefaction can be used to address these issues. This thermochemical treatment is also known as mild pyrolysis where biomass is heated in an oxygen-free environment at temperatures of 200-300°C. Pelletization of this material can improve the handling characteristics and benefit applications such as pyrolysis. In this study, a lab scale pellet mill was used to produce both untreated corn stover pellets and torrefied corn stover pellets. The effect of moisture content and use of starch binder were observed. The quality of the pellets was determined by durability testing where pellets were tumbled and sieved to separate pellets from fines. The study found higher initial moisture content was required to produce torrefied corn stover pellets (≈35%) compared to untreated corn stover pellets (≈15%). Starch was used as a binder additive and found to have a positive impact on torrefied pellets and a neutral/negative impact on untreated corn stover pellets. Production yield and bulk density were also calculated.

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