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Storage Dynamics and Lignocellulosic Degradation in Industrial Biomass Storage

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

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800219.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800219)
Authors:   Matthew J Darr, Keith Webster, Rachel Bearden
Keywords:   Cellulosic biomass, corn stover, biomass storage.

Abstract. Industrial producers of biorenewable products require an economically stable biomass feedstock in order to compete with petroleum based products. All components of the supply chain (harvest, transportation, and storage) must each be implemented at the lowest cost. This research is focused on reducing the storage cost of baled corn stover. Uncovered field-edge storage of baled corn stover may be cheaper than aggregated satellite storage, because field-edge storage eliminates material cost to tarp stacks as well as level, drain, and lay a rock base on undeveloped land. Furthermore, field-edge storage eliminates transportation to a satellite location, significantly reducing the total transportation cost. Offsetting these beneficial cost savings is the potential degradation of field-edge storage, due to lessened protection.

This paper focuses on evaluating the tradeoff of reduced storage cost to increased cost associated with loss of material and decreased material quality. Production scale stacks of bales were monitored to evaluate commercial scale degradation within field edge storage for various methods of coverage. Dynamic trends of degradation were monitored using a thermistor temperature logging system and real time vertical temperature profiles were generated to evaluate the spread of microbial activity within the bale stacks. Weather data and moisture sampling results indicate that temperature shifts within the bale stacks coincided with rainfall events and increased moisture content. Deconstruction of the stacks generated final moisture profiles and permitted assessments of dry matter loss after one year of storage. The trends and profiles developed from these findings were used to assess the impact of degradation on the feedstock contribution of ethanol production cost (FCEPC).

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