Strategies to improve durability of switchgrass briquettes

Nalladurai Kaliyan, R. Vance Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Densification of switchgrass into briquettes contributes to efficient handling, transportation, storage, and use in bioenergy applications. The effects of fine grinding of switchgrass, adding biomass-based binders (corn stover, corn distillers dried grains with solubles, and starch), and mixing commercial chemical feed binders (lignin-sulfonate, lime, and sodium bentonite) on durability of switchgrass briquettes (about 19.0 mm diameter) were investigated using a uniaxial, piston-cylinder densification apparatus. At a compression pressure of 150 MPa, preheating of switchgrass grind (geometric mean particle diameter of 0.56 mm) to 100°C without adding any binders improved the briquette durability to 67% compared to the briquette durability of 0% without preheating. In addition to preheating to 100°C, either mixing of 20% (wt.) of corn stover or 5% (wt.) of lime significantly improved the switchgrass briquette durability to 80%. Mixing of 20% (wt.) corn stover with 80% (wt.) switchgrass appears to be the best strategy to improve switchgrass briquette durability because addition of 20% (wt.) corn stover would involve almost no additional cost for densification compared to the addition of 5% (wt.) of lime. Preheating was essential to fully activate the natural binders in the switchgrass as well as the binding agents added to the switchgrass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1953
Number of pages11
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Binders
  • Briquettes
  • Briquetting
  • Corn stover
  • Densification
  • Switchgrass


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