Comminution

Wood chunks or residues can be further comminuted with a hammermill (Fig. 8.1a) or a chipper (Fig. 8.1b). A hammermill breaks down particles with blunt metal hammers and the resulting particles have a fairly wide size distribution. The

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Fig. 8.2 Pellets (a) and a briquette (b). The bar indicates 1 cm length

maximum particle size can be determined by a sieve through which the particles have to pass before they can leave the mill. In a disk — or drum-chipper the particles are cut along the grain with a knife, which results in fairly even sized chips of a few centimetre side lengths.

Further mechanical comminution of chips can be attained by grinding or milling (0.2-2 mm) with various mills. Ball mills, vibratory mills, hammer mills, knife mills, two-roll mills, colloid mills, attrition mills or extruders can be employed for this purpose. The choice of equipment is largely determined by the moisture content of the biomass (Kratky and Jirout 2011). While colloid mills and extruders are only appropriate for materials with a moisture content of 15-20 %, ball or vibratory ball mills can be employed for dry and wet materials. The energy requirements and hence subsequent costs of the comminution step are dictated by the type of mill, the original and target particle size, and the lignocellulose characteristics.

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