INL researchers make strides in modeling flow behavior of loblolly pine

December 19, 2021 |

In Idaho, Idaho National Laboratory researchers identified models that could help scale-up biomass processing, specifically loblolly pine, to industry scale at an economically low cost. Loblolly pine, or more specifically the pine residue from commercial tree harvesting in Southern U.S. forests, has the potential for a major impact on bioenergy infrastructure.

Its low cost and widespread abundance have made it a promising domestic biomass resource for fuels, chemicals, and advanced manufacturing products. To fully tap into the potential of loblolly pine residue and other biomass more broadly, however, the issue of ‘poor flowability’ in the refining process must be addressed.

INL researchers made significant strides in characterizing and modeling the flow behavior of ground loblolly pine. Flowability dictates how well granular biomass material moves through feeding and handling equipment during preprocessing and conversion at a biorefinery. By combining physical experiments and model simulations, they have identified a complete set of material flow attributes that must be incorporated into the design of reliable feeding and handling processes.

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Category: Research

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