Improved Biomass Feedstock Materials Handling and Feeding Engineering Data Sets, Design Methods, and Modeling/Simulation Tools


The overarching objective of this project is to contribute to the design and operation of reliable, cost effective, continuous feeding of biomass feedstocks into a reactor of an integrated biorefinery.

The overarching goal is made up of two sub goals: 1) Develop and validate a comprehensive computational model to predict mechanical and rheological behavior of biomass flow to enable systematic and reliable design of biomass handling/conveying system, and 2) Engineer and improve laboratory protocols and equipment to generate property-driven response curves for specific biomass feedstock species and formats accounting for their dependence on biomass physical properties including particle size distribution, true density, bulk density, and moisture content and external mechanical properties including temperature and pressure.

The project team includes Forest Concepts, Pennsylvania State University, and Amaron Energy. Forest Concepts leads the design and construction of new laboratory methods and equipment. Penn State leads the development and adaptation of bulk flow models to the problem of biomass materials and equipment. Amaron Energy provides biochar materials and industry perspective.

New equipment to be developed include a 250mm Cubical Triaxial Tester (CTT) to provide biomass mechanical properties data, a large gas pycnometer to quantify biomass particle density, and other lab devices to ensure simulations are populated with biomass-specific data. Biomass materials used in the project include milled wood chips and corn stover.

About the Publication 

Presentation delivered at the DOE EERE BETO System Development and Integration biennial Peer Review on March 23, 2021. Project progress, scope, and accomplishments were scored by a panel of experts. The full Peer Review report will be available in the 4th quarter of 2021.


Chris Lanning, Hojae Yi, Virendra Puri, Jim Dooley

Watch the full presentation in MP4 format: