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Machine Power and Drying Rate Relationships for High Energy Forage Sorghum

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

Citation:  Paper number  131618668,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20131618668) @2013
Authors:   Elizabeth A Miller, Michael D Buser, Raymond L Huhnke, Randal K Taylor
Keywords:   biomass, conditioning, power, drying rate, high energy forage sorghum.

Abstract. In the push to expand the production of biofuels, researchers are searching for new sources of cellulosic biomass to help supply the world’s energy requirements. With new types of crops being used in this effort, new processing problems emerge. One problem that has been identified is how to swiftly process high energy forage sorghum from a standing crop to a stable biomass package for transport and storage. Current commercial processing uses mechanical conditioners to increase the rate at which water can escape the plant cells. However, this type of equipment has been optimized for forage production rather than bioenergy feedstocks. This research examines three mechanical conditioner designs to determine the unit’s power requirements and drying rate changes when processing high energy forage sorghum. The three designs include a fluted roll, chisel impeller and “V” impeller. Results showed minimal power requirement difference between the three conditioners. The drying times for forage sorghum that was conditioned with the “V” impeller, chisel impeller and fluted roll conditioner was 43.2, 32.2, and 12.5 hours, respectively. This was a reduction in drying time of 30.2, 47.8, and 79.7% when compared to unconditioned material for chisel impeller, “V” impeller, and fluted roll conditioners.

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