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A Comparative Study on Torque Requirement During Extrusion Pretreatment of Different Feedstocks

Karunanithy, Chinnadurai, Muthukumarappan, Kasiviswanathan
BioEnergy research 2012 v.5 no.2 pp. 263-276
Andropogon gerardii, Panicum virgatum, corn stover, extrusion, feedstocks, statistical analysis, torque, water content
Extrusion pretreatment of biomass can be one of the viable continuous pretreatment methods. The torque requirement of feedstock during extrusion was an important factor, and it was not reported in the literature. Screw compression ratio, screw speed, barrel temperature, and feedstock moisture content are the contributing factors to the torque. The current study was undertaken to investigate the effect of screw compression ratio, screw speed, temperature on torque requirement for different moisture content of switchgrass, prairie cord grass, corn stover, and big bluestem and to compare the torque requirement among the selected feedstocks. Biomass was extruded in a lab scale single-screw extruder with different screw compression ratios (2:1 and 3:1), screw speeds (50, 100, and 150 rpm), and barrel temperatures (50°C, 100°C, and 150°C) over a range of moisture contents (15%, 25%, 35%, and 45% wb). Statistical analyses revealed that all the independent variables considered in this study had a significant effect on torque requirement for the selected feedstocks. Among the independent variables considered moisture content, screw speed, and temperature had a negative effect on torque requirement for all the feedstocks. Switchgrass required the highest torque followed by corn stover, big bluestem, and prairie cord grass.