AIMS Bioengineering, 2016, 3(2): 125-138. doi: 10.3934/bioeng.2016.2.125

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Impact of an innovated storage technology on the quality of preprocessed switchgrass bales

1 Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee, 302-I Morgan Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
2 Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Tennessee, 2506 Jacob Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of three particle sizes of feedstock and two types of novel bale wraps on the quality of switchgrass by monitoring the chemical changes in cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, extractives, and ash over a 225-day period. Using NIR (Near-infrared) modeling to predict the chemical composition of the treated biomass, differences were found in cellulose, lignin, and ash content across switchgrass bales with different particle sizes. Enclosing bales in a net and film impacted the cellulose, lignin, and ash content. Cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, extractives, and ash were different across the 225-day storage period. A quadratic response function made better prediction about cellulose, lignin, and ash response to storage, and a linear response function best described hemicellulose and extractives response to storage. This study yields valuable information regarding the quality of switchgrass at different intervals between the start and end date of storage, which is important to conversion facilities when determining optimal storage strategies to improve quality of the biomass feedstock, based on potential output yield of a bale over time.
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