Techno-economic Assessment of Pipeline Transport of Agricultural Biomass using Experimental Results
Thursday, May 1, 2014: 6:05 PM
Grand Ballroom F-G, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Mahdi Vaezi and Amit Kumar, Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
This research work is focused on development of pipeline as a mode of transportation for lignocellulosic biomass to conversion facilities in the form of a slurry. In the first phase of this work the focus is on transportation of agricultural residues (e.g. straw, corn stover). The concept involves chopping of agricultural residues, classifying these residues in appropriate sizes, mixing of classified residues with water in a mixing tank to form a slurry and then pumping of the slurry through a pipeline. The experiments have been carried out to study the rheological properties of the biomass slurry and to measure the pressure drop of the slurry. The authors have designed and fabricated a pipeline loop systems consisting of 25 m long and 2 inch diameter pipeline on a laboratory scale and the experiments were conducted using this pipeline loop. This paper is focused on the techno-economic assessment of the pipeline transport of lignocellulosic agricultural biomass based on the experimental results. This paper will discuss in detail the correlations and models which have been developed for measuring the pressure drop as a function of type of biomass, particle size, concentration, density of carrier fluid, velocity of slurry and diameter of pipeline. These correlations are used to estimate the cost of transportation of agricultural residues ($/tonne) over long distances.  This is one-of-its-kind analysis. The preliminary results show that pipeline can help in reducing the cost of transportation and has a potential to make the biomass-based facilities more competitive compared to the petroleum-based facilities.