Biofuels produced from cellulosic biomass (such as the fibrous, woody, and generally inedible portions of plant matter) can significantly reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, create new jobs, improve rural economies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve national security. However, in the U.S., there are currently no cellulosic biofuel plants in commercial production. Several technical barriers have hindered large-scale cost-effective manufacturing of cellulosic biofuels. One such barrier is related to the low density of cellulosic feedstocks, causing their transportation and storage to be very expensive. Pelleting biomass can increase the overall efficiency by utilizing existing transportation infrastructure and storage systems for mega-ton quantities. If biomass is pelleted, it can be handled and transported with existing grain handling equipment in the field, on the road, and at the central biorefinery. This paper presents experimental study on ultrasonic vibration assisted pelleting of cellulosic feedstocks. The results show that ultrasonic vibration assistance could increase the mechanical strength of pellets by more than six times and the density by 50%.

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