Cellulosic biomass is abundantly available in the nature. It is an attractive feedstock to make alternative fuels to petroleum-based transportation fuels. Because of low bulk density and irregular shape, raw biomass materials are difficult to handle, transport, and store. Pelleting can increase the density of cellulosic biomass. Pellets can be easily handled, resulting in reducing their transportation and storage costs. Ultrasonic vibration-assisted (UV-A) pelleting is a new pelleting method. Moisture content, particle size, pelleting pressure, and ultrasonic power are four important input parameters affecting pellet quality and sugar yield (proportional to biofuel yield). However, their effects on power consumption in UV-A pelleting have not been adequately investigated. Since power consumption directly affects ethanol manufacturing costs, it is desirable to understand how input parameters affect power consumption. This paper reports an experimental investigation of power consumption in UV-A pelleting. A 24 factorial design is employed to evaluate the effects of four input parameters (moisture content, particle size, pelleting pressure, and ultrasonic power) on power consumption in UV-A pelleting. Results show that three input parameters (moisture content, particle size, and ultrasonic power) significantly affect power consumption. Higher moisture content, lower ultrasonic power, and larger particle size result in higher power consumption. Only one interaction of two parameters is significant, i.e. with the increase of pelleting pressure, power consumption will increase at the high level of particle size while decrease at the low level of particle size.

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