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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 947350, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/947350
Research Article

Effects of Screen Size on Biochemical Conversion of Big Bluestem Biomass for Biofuel Production

1Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
2Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA

Received 29 January 2015; Revised 30 May 2015; Accepted 2 June 2015

Academic Editor: Jiang Jianchun

Copyright © 2015 Xiaoxu Song et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Biomass size reduction is the first step for biofuel production from cellulosic biomass through biochemical pathway, and it is usually performed on a mill with screen installed to control the size of the produced particles. The absence of in-depth knowledge about the effects of screen size throughout the biochemical conversion of cellulosic biomass makes it difficult to choose the screen size to conduct biomass size reduction to minimize the energy consumption on mills, maximize the cellulose recovery rate after pretreatment, and maximize the enzymatic hydrolysis efficiency. The objective of this work is to address this issue by generating new knowledge on the effects of screen size in these three processes: size reduction, pretreatment, and enzymatic hydrolysis in conversion of big bluestem biomass for biofuel production. Four screen sizes used in this study were 1, 2, 4, and 8 mm. It was found that using a larger screen size saved energy in biomass size reduction on a knife mill. Moreover, particles produced with larger screen sizes achieved higher cellulose recovery rate after pretreatment, higher enzymatic hydrolysis efficiency, and higher total sugar yield.