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Biomass Harvest, Storage and Pretreatment

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Harvest and Transportation

Research‑driven innovation is improving the efficiency and economic feasibility of biomass harvesting and transportation technologies. Project areas focus on developing in‑field harvesting and densification methods, biomass logistics and materials handling. Biomass production and harvesting equipment and methods are tested year‑round.

Harvest Storage and Transportation Facility:
The Harvest, Storage and Transportation Facility is 17,000 square feet and allows for year-round development and testing of harvest, storage, and transportation equipment. Hydraulic presses are available for biomass compaction studies. Project areas focus on developing in-field harvesting and densification methods, biomass logistics, and materials handling.

Combine pulling a baler and making bales from corn stover.

Biomass Feedstock Storage

Biomass storage research trials are conducted in controlled and real world environments provided at the BioCentury Research Farm. Alternative storage systems are available and tested on-site. These trials help to identify the most cost-effective storage systems for different biomass crops. Bale storage trials are being conducted without protection, under tarps, and in enclosed buildings.

Hoop Structures:
Three hoop structures, open on the ends, are used to store bales of stover. Each hoop structure is 65' wide by 30' high and 115' long. The floors are graveled and tiled to keep the floors dry.

Three white hoop building open on the ends with bales of corn stover inside.

Biomass Pretreatment

Biomass feedstocks are dried, ground and sized in the biomass storage and pretreatment building. Various dryers, grinders, mills and sieves are available to process biomass for biofuels projects. The building also features a fine particle biomass preparation lab that is used for fine grinding, sieving, pelleting, milling, briquetting and particle size distribution determination. The lab is designed to accommodate 12 independent equipment stations. The BCRF is one of the few facilities in the nation capable of grinding and sizing large quantities of research quality biomass feedstocks while still accommodating small‑ quantity projects.

Biomass Storage and Pretreatment Building:
The Biomass Storage and Pretreatment Building is 9,000 square feet and has equipment available to handle, dry, and grind large quantities (up to 2 tons per day) of biomass. Dry storage of 20 tons of different types of biomass is possible. This building has various dryers, grinders, mills, and sieves to process biomass feedstocks.The biomass grinder is located under an adjacent open-sided, covered-roof structure to minimize risk of dust explosion. 

A drying and grinding control room provides workers a climate controlled, dust-free environment to oversee the drying and grinding of various biomass feedstocks. It features a computer interface that can operate the entire system of conveyor belts, surge hoppers, hammer mills and a dryer. Large windows and a camera monitoring setup allow workers to observe the system while it is running. 

A researcher adding stover to the hammer mill.

Equipment Available for Drying, Grinding and Pretreatment

Art’s Way 60 hp Hammermill

Belt Dryer

California Pellet Mill Pelletizer



Schutte-Buffalo Series 18 Pilot-scale Hammermill

Schutte-Buffalo Research-scale Hammermill

Sieve Shaker

Testing Sieve Shaker

Vermeer HG200 Horizontal Grinder

Vermeer BP 8000 Bale Processor