Sieves and Image Analysis
Improved physical separation of biomass concentrates higher-value components, returns unused plant components to the soil, and provides a more efficient platform for downstream industrial users. Sieving (Fig 2) and Image Analysis (IA) were studied to evaluate biomass particle sizes, particle size distribution, and potential separation of biomass materials. This was meant to complement other project efforts using terminal velocity to separate biomass components. Switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover were used in the study. Particles prepared by a knife mill equipped with various screen sizes were subject to sieving test and IA. Results showed that all three biomass materials would be analyzed using the fast, easy and accurate IA. Biomass particle physical properties, such as length, width, and projected area were obtained through IA.
Fig 2. Biomass sieve adapted from forage sieve thickness and action specifications from ASABE standards.
An image analysis technique was developed using an ordinary document scanner to obtain images of groups of biomass particles, and then filters and software were developed and validated to quantify particle dimensions.