(793e) Construction of Biomass Particle Models From Microscopy Data for Simulation of Transport Phenomena With Realistic System Geometry
Biomass is a renewable, naturally mass-produced source of stored solar energy that exists in the form of reduced carbon in plant cell walls, which imparts a highly porous and anisotropic microstructure to this material. Acquiring a detailed understanding of the impacts of this microstructure on transport phenomena such as heat and mass transfer is crucial to realizing the cost-effective production of liquid fuels from biomass at an industrial scale by optimizing conversion processes especially suited for these materials. Furthermore, the structural variation of biomass that derives from the species of origin as well as mechanical processing complicates the general optimization of process conditions. I will describe our efforts using microscopy data to construct 3D models of biomass particles that display realistic plant cell wall geometry. Next, I will present preliminary simulation results that probe the affects varying biomass geometry on microscale transport phenomena. These methods will eventually enable the design of biomass conversion processes that are tailored for specific feedstocks based on microstructural properties such as cell wall thickness and particle size.