Investigation on characteristics of corn stover and sorghum stalk processed by ultrasonic vibration-assisted pelleting
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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Cellulosic ethanol produced from cellulosic biomass is an alternative to petroleum-based liquid transportation fuels. The cost-effectiveness of cellulosic ethanol manufacturing has been hindered by several technical barriers. One such barrier is that low density of biomass causes high costs of biomass transportation, handling, and storage. Another barrier is low sugar yield in enzymatic hydrolysis, making enzymatic hydrolysis an expensive and slow step. Ultrasonic vibration-assisted (UV-A) pelleting of cellulosic biomass can increase its density and reduce the costs of biomass transportation and handling. In addition, sugar yield of biomass pellets processed by UV-A pelleting was higher than that of particles (unpelleted biomass) with diluted acid pretreatment. The reason that UV-A pelleting could increase sugar yield of biomass is still unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate reasons that UV-A pelleting combined with diluted acid pretreatment could increase sugar yield of biomass. High sugar yield is preferred to achieve high ethanol yield. Effects of UV-A pelleting on biomass characteristics (such as chemical composition, crystallinity index, thermal properties, and morphological structure) were investigated. The results showed there was no significant difference in chemical composition between pellets and particles. However, crystallinity of biomass increased after UV-A pelleting. In addition, pellets had higher decomposition temperature than particles, indicating that pellets were more thermally stable than particles. Examinations on morphological structure of biomass showed that softened surface regions of biomass were removed and cellulose microfibrils were revealed after UV-A pelleting.
author list (cited authors)
Zhang, Q. i., Zhang, P., Pei, Z., & Wang, D.