Particle size and shape characterization of feedstock material for biofuel production
Czech University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Department of Sustainable Technologies, Kamýcká 129, CZ165 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Particle size and shape are key factors influencing the properties of particulate and agglomerated materials, and having an impact on a quality as well as utilization of a final product. In case of plant biomass particle morphology is greatly irregular. Large errors at most determinations of biomass particle sizes are caused by simplification on a single parameter of size, assuming particle sphericity or circularity. Thus, the aim of a present research was to determine the particle size in a complex way. Pine sawdust as an experimental material and typical biofuel feedstock was ground by a hammer mill to a fraction size of 12 mm. The dimensional features of such ground sawdust particles were identified for all particles individually via photo-optical analysis, a method based on a digital image processing that is sensitive to irregular particles’ shapes. The particles were described mainly by variables of length, max width, equivalent diameter, max and min feret diameter, sphericity, roundness, circularity together with length/width ratio and aspect ratio. Data were analysed by descriptive statistics, i.e. by arithmetic means, medians, minimum and maximum values, variance and standard deviation. The obtained results may contribute to a better knowledge of material properties needed for designing an optimal technology for the production of quality biofuels.