Optimizing hammer mill performance through screen selection and hammer design

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Mechanical preprocessing, which includes particle-size reduction and mechanical separation, is one of the primary operations in the feedstock supply system for a lignocellulosic biorefinery. It is the means by which raw biomass from the field or forest is mechanically transformed into an on-spec feedstock with characteristics better suited for the fuel conversion process.


This work provides a general overview of the objectives and methodologies of mechanical preprocessing and then presents experimental results illustrating improved size reduction via optimization of hammer mill configuration, improved size reduction via pneumatic-assisted hammer milling and improved control of particle size and particle-size distribution through proper selection of grinder process parameters.


Optimal grinder configuration for maximal process throughput and efficiency is strongly dependent on feedstock type and properties, such as moisture content. Tests conducted using a HG200 hammer grinder indicate that tip speed, screen size and optimizing hammer geometry can increase grinder throughput as much as 400%.

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