Increasing demands and concerns for the reliable supply of liquid transportation fuels make it important to find alternative sources to petroleum based fuels. One such alternative is cellulosic biofuels. However, several technical barriers have hindered large-scale, cost-effective manufacturing of cellulosic biofuels, such as the low density of cellulosic feedstocks (causing high transportation and storage costs) and the low efficiency of enzymatic hydrolysis process (causing longer processing time and low sugar yield). Ultrasonic vibration-assisted (UV-A) pelleting can increase the density of cellulosic materials by compressing them into pellets. UV-A pelleting can also increase the sugar yield of cellulosic biomass materials in hydrolysis. At present, the effects of process variables in UV-A pelleting on pellet quality (density, durability, and stability) and sugar yield have not been adequately investigated. This paper reports an experimental investigation on UV-A pelleting of wheat straw. A 24 factorial design is employed to evaluate the effects of process variables (moisture content, particle size, pelleting pressure, and ultrasonic power) on output variables (pellet density, durability, stability, and sugar yield).

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