Joseph J. Biernacki

Tennessee Tech University

Production of Biomass Micro-spheres

June Kim

Developing reactor technology for the efficient conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals remains a significant challenge.  To help further our fundamental research on biomass fast pyrolysis kinetics and reactor design our lab has developed a novel way of pre-processing biomass feedstock.  Normally the biomass substrate, ground biomass flakes or powder, has no identifiable geometry amenable to kinetic or reactor mathematical models and is difficult to handle experimentally.  In response to this challenge, our group has developed a unique spray drying technique that produces biomass microspheres ranging in diameter between 300 and 500 μm and has validated a model for spray-drying at various operating conditions, e.g. mass and composition of the spray slurry, height and diameter of the spray-drying column, etc..

 Bimass SphereAlfalfa

Figure 1. Scanning electron micrograph of a typical biomass microsphere, Tennessee Tech University.

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