Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Growing Oklahoma

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Growing Oklahoma

Soil piping and internal erosion: Laboratory experiments on the removal of soil clogs

Mikayla Wangera, Garey Foxb, Daniel Storma, and Tyson Ochsnerc

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; NCSU Biological and Agricultural Engineeringb; OSU Plant and Soil Sciencec

Abstract: Clogging of soil pipes can be detrimental to hillslope stability leading to landscape failures. A soil pipe becomes clogged through internal erosion or pipe collapse; therefore, it is important to obtain more information surrounding these clogging occurrences in order to better predict their effects. When a pipe becomes clogged, a pressure buildup occurs upstream from the clog. This pressure may be enough to remove the clog, or the pressure may continue to build in the soil matrix which could lead to landscape failures. Field observations have indicated occurrences of both, and this study investigated characteristics for which the clog was removed or remained intact. Laboratory experiments were conducted with a 100 cm long clear polyvinyl chloride pipe. A pipe clog was established 90 cm along the pipe length. Triplicate experiments were conducted with two pipe diameters, two soil types (sand and sandy loam), two clog lengths, three pipe roughness, various packing densities, and with both dynamic and constant heads. Digital pressure gauges were installed along the second half of the pipe to monitor pressures both before and after the clog. The upstream pressure and the length of time that the plug withstood the pressure before removal were recorded. Regardless of pressurized time, all clogs were removed as plugs. Adding pipe roughness increased the removal time for the sandy clay loam soil by more than 50%, but had no effect on the sand plugs. The relationship between applied head and pressurized time was a negative exponential relationship. The bulk density had a positive exponential relationship to the pressurized time. In field situations, the hydrology of the water inside of the clog will need to be considered for a model. Data obtained through the experiments outlined above will assist model developers in creating a model for soil piping and internal erosion. This will allow researchers to better understand and predict internal erosion, eventually leading to the ability to prevent major landscape failures. Full Text

Investigation of riverine wetlands within the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma utilizing the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM)

Donna Wileya, Jason Vogela, Craig Davisb, and Scott Stoodleyc

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Natural Resource Ecology and Managementb; OSU Environmental Sciencec

Abstract: Wetlands are an important part of our natural landscape. Wetland rapid assessments are useful tools for natural resource managers to evaluate existing wetlands. Oklahoma has not completed the development of a custom rapid assessment method (RAM), which hinders other entities interested in pursuing assessments and protection of wetlands, such as Native American Tribes. Recently the Muscogee Creek Nation (MCN), an Oklahoma tribe, has begun to develop a wetland program. This thesis further discusses the justification for all tribes to develop a wetland program, using the MCN as a case study. To further develop their wetland program, the MCN needed a RAM to assess riverine wetlands. The California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) was applied and tested on riverine wetlands in East-Central Oklahoma. The CRAM was conducted on 21 wetlands located within the tribal boundaries. An additional, broader assessment using a geographical information system (GIS) for buffers at three different scales was also completed to document land-use type at three buffer scales. The percentage of landuse type at each scale was compared to the CRAM metric scores to determine if a correlation exists. Previous research has shown that land-use impacts the condition of streams and wetlands. This study confirmed the CRAM scored riverine wetlands correlated to degree of disturbance; the correlation was positive with little human impact, and negative with a higher degree of disturbance. Next, three of the 21 wetlands were used in a sensitivity analysis, one each for a low, a moderate, and a high CRAM score. The twelve scenarios where the highest degree of sensitivity on final CRAM results, ranging from 5 – 14.5%, are highlighted. The sensitivity analysis results can be utilized by CRAM practitioners to know which parameters are most sensitive to measurement error. In conclusion, this thesis demonstrates the application of the CRAM on wetlands within the MCN in Oklahoma, and also documents land-use and operational factors that can impact the final CRAM score. Full Text

Evaluation of pretreatment options for enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentable sugar production from sweet sorghum

Naveen Pessania, Danielle Bellmera, Hasan Atiyeha, William McGlynnb, and Niels Manessc

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Food and Agricultural Products Centerb; OSU Plant and Soil Sciencec

Abstract: Sweet sorghum (Sorghum Bicolor L.) is a promising crop for the production of biofuels due to its high carbohydrate yields, low water requirements, and tolerance to imperfect soil conditions. Numerous options are available for the pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Several pretreatment processes were investigated in order to maximize the overall carbohydrate recovery from sorghum, including mechanical pulping, extrusion, and alkali soaking. In the first part of this study, whole sweet sorghum was pretreated with Thermomechanical pulping (TMP) and Refiner Mechanical Pulping (RMP), which are common technologies in the pulp and paper industry. Enzymatic hydrolysis of TMP pretreated sorghum at 6% (w/v) solid loading resulted in the highest glucose and xylose yields of 60.8 and 12.1% respectively, when cellulase and xylanase loadings of 1.0 mL/g glucan and xylan were used. Using the same enzyme loading, enzymatic hydrolysis of RMP pretreated sorghum resulted in glucose and xylose yields of 41.3 and 10% respectively. In the second part of the study, sweet sorghum bagasse was pretreated using a twin-screw extruder at 80 and 110°C with and without the presence of 1.4 M NaOH. Among all the extrusion treatments that were tested, sorghum bagasse pretreated at 110°C in the presence of alkali resulted in the highest glucose and xylose yields of 62.7 and 46% respectively. Glucose and xylose yields were mostly unaltered with the change in extrusion temperature in the absence of alkali. However, the presence of an alkali improved the glucose and xylose yields significantly. In the treatments with alkali soaking alone, enzymatic hydrolysis of sorghum bagasse that was soaked in alkali at 40% (w/v) solid loading using 2.8, 3.5 and 4.2 M NaOH at several different conditions resulted in glucose yields ranging from 88 to 99%. Glucose yields were high with treatments containing low alkali concentration coupled with high soaking time. Xylose yields up to 78% were obtained with sorghum bagasse that was soaked in 3.5 M NaOH at 90°C for 1h as well as those that were soaked at room temperature. Furthermore, the alkali soaking was conducted at solid state, with 40% solids, and no washing steps required. Full Text

Oxidative stability of peanut butter bites

Pranav Pidatalaa, Danielle Bellmera, William McGlynnb, and Patricia Rayas-Duartec

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Food and Agricultural Products Centerb; OSU Biochemistryc

Abstract: Peanut butter continues to be a mainstay in the American diet with more than a billion dollars in annual sales, but in its current form peanut butter lacks the convenience of other foods. A peanut butter bite snack food has been developed that is individually wrapped, high in protein, great tasting, and made mostly from peanut butter. The target market for the product is the active, health-conscious segment of the population that wants a high protein peanut butter snack that is easy to pack, carry, and eat. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the shelf life of peanut butter bites under different storage and packaging conditions, and specifically to monitor oxidative stability of the samples over time. In order to evaluate product shelf life, peanut butter bite samples were prepared with three different levels of added antioxidant (Vitamin E). Products were sealed in two different types of packaging (metallized polyethylene and plastic polyethylene), and were stored at two different temperatures to determine the rate of degradation of the product under various conditions. Oxidative stability was evaluated using two different analytical methods (peroxide value and TBARS testing) to evaluate primary and secondary oxidation products. All treatments were conducted in triplicate. Results show that the both packaging materials provided oxidative stability for the peanut butter product. Also, higher levels of vitamin E resulted in greater stability. As expected, oxidation proceeded more quickly under higher temperature storage conditions. A shelf stable individually-wrapped peanut butter snack product may be appealing to a large audience, and could result in an increase in the consumption of peanuts. Full Text

Biofeedstock supply chain logistics dynamic modeling: Eastern Redcedar

Collin Craigea, Michael Busera, Scott Fraziera, Rodney Holcombb, and Salim Hizirogluc

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Agricultural Economicsb; OSU Natural Resource Ecology and Managementc

Abstract: A body of knowledge exists for the Eastern Redcedar supply chain; however, the available data is not sufficient to fully evaluate the numerous potential commercialization strategies. The ability to model a supply chain in its entirety, from identifying the facility location and feedstock availability through the harvest, transport, processing, and refining stages is a critical component of characterizing the feasibility of a given strategy. To facilitate the development of Eastern Redcedar commerce, a comprehensive, modular, commodity based supply chain model was developed as a computational tool for decision makers who are considering investing capital in developing or expanding Easter Redcedar markets. This model is web based, to provide improved accessibility and ease of use while its modular structure gives it the flexibility to evaluate niche markets. Geospatial programming is used to perform location allocation, develop service areas, routes, and biomass yield maps. This data, combined with user inputs, is used to approximate costs at each stage in the supply chain. Rejection sampling is used to generate random numbers according to empirical probability distribution functions for key cost variables in Monte Carlo simulations. The interdependency, cost impact and sensitivity of variables on total system cost are derived from one-way sensitivity analyses. All results are displayed as interactive bar graphs, line charts, and maps. The model is expected to reduce the risk associated with the production of Eastern Redcedar products and provide a strong foundation for expanding the model to include other biomass feedstocks and end products. Full Text

Proposed updates for AP-42 cotton gin emission factors

Thomas Moorea, Michael Buserb, Derek Whitelockb, and Doug Hamiltonc

Environmental Sciencea; Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringb; OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringc

Abstract: A cotton ginning industry-supported project (National Study) was initiated in 2008 and completed in 2013 to collect additional particulate matter (PM) data for EPA’s AP-42. PM stack emissions were collected using three EPA-approved methodologies and particle size analysis for 17 cotton gin systems. This study used the National Study and the 1996 AP-42 PM data and EPA’s 2013 Emission Factor Development Procedures to develop suggested PM2.5, PM10, and total PM cotton gin emission factors, particle size distribution (PSD) characteristics, and evaluate EPA’s development methodology. Unrepresentative test runs were removed from the National Study dataset for erratic gin operation, laboratory errors, or if the data was an outlier. Test runs were assign Individual Test Ratings (ITRs), ordered by descending “test” ITR for a given system, which was used to calculate Factor Quality Indices (FQI). If a “test” ITR increased the FQI, that “test” and those below it were excluded from the system emission factor calculation. Three “Test” Designs were evaluated to determine which was best for calculating emission factors and associated ratings. Test data ratings from the 1996 AP-42 were converted to ITRs and rerated with the ITR methodology to determine how that data should be handled. PSD data was evaluated for inclusion with EPA-approved emissions data. The optimal “Test” Design was determined to be one that used the average of all test runs from a single sampling method on a single system at a single facility as a “test.” It was determined that the 1996 AP-42 data ratings should be rerated. PSD data should be combined with the section 9.7 emission factors. Final suggested typical gin emission factors were 0.0459 (0.1013), 0.4514 (0.9951), and 0.9404 kg/bale (2.0732 lb/bale) for PM2.5, PM10, and total PM, respectively. Final suggested typical gin PM10 and total PM emission factors were 22% higher and 14% lower than the 1996 AP-42 emission factors, respectively. Final suggested typical gin PM2.5, PM10, and total PM emission factors were 33, 22, and 0.81% lower than the National Study technical reports. Twelve, 53, and 71% of the final suggested PM2.5, PM10, and total PM emission factors rated “highly representative,” respectively. Full Text

Sediment and phosphorus loads from streambank erosion and failure: A source of legacy phosphorus in watersheds

Rebecca Purvisa, Garey Foxa, Chad Pennb, and Daniel Stormc

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Plant and Soil Scienceb; OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringc

Abstract: Streambank erosion may be one pathway for sediment and nutrient loading to streams but insufficient data exists on the magnitude. Riparian protection can significantly decrease streambank erosion in some locations, but estimates of actual sediment load reductions are limited. Objectives of this research include (i) reviewing current knowledge on streambanks as P loading sources and identifying future research needs, (ii) quantifying the amount of streambank erosion throughout a sensitive watershed in eastern Oklahoma, (iii) estimating the benefit of vegetation on reducing streambank erosion, (iv) determining the importance of mass wasting in this system, (v) analyzing the appropriateness of limited monitoring points to determine watershed sediment load, (vi) quantifying the magnitude of and spatial distribution of streambank phosphorus concentrations along a stream system in a watershed with historical poultry litter application, (vii) quantifying the amount of water soluble phosphorus (WSP) and total phosphorus (TP) entering the stream from streambanks, and (viii) comparing streambank P concentrations and loading between two unique streams in the same ecoregion. For Spavinaw Creek, it was estimated that the total soil mass eroded from 2003 to 2013 was 727 x106 kg, average bank retreat was 2.5 m yr-1 , and 1.5 x 103 kg WSP and 1.4 x 105 kg TP loaded. Statistical analysis showed that sites with riparian vegetation had on average three times less bank retreat than unprotected banks. Bank retreat was somewhat positively correlated with stream discharge, suggesting that mass wasting plays a role in streambank erosion within this watershed. Selection of random sites and scaling up to watershed scale greatly underestimated the actual erosion and loading rates. Comparison of P loading between the two systems showed that WSP in one was an order of magnitude higher while TP was on the same order of magnitude. Streambank P loading rates are dependent on the stream system; therefore each stream needs to be individually studied in order to gain a better understanding of the specific loadings from streambanks. Future research is needed on dynamics between different P pools and the integrated streambank erosion processes. Full Text

Life cycle assessment of two catalysts used in the biofuel syngas cleaning process and analysis of variability in gasification

Enze Jina, Scott Fraziera, Doug Hamiltona, and Ajay Kumara

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa

Abstract: Syngas known also as producer gas is the main product from biomass gasification process. This gas is considered as a renewable energy which can be converted into liquid fuels. Within syngas are significant amount of tars, syngas cannot be used directly as a clean fuel. The current method used in the syngas cleaning process is reforming tars with metal catalysts. Biochar, a co-product of gasfication, has been developed with the function of removing tars from the syngas. Compared to metal catalyst, biochar has a lower price and higher potential sustainability for the environment. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is introduced into this study to analyze the sustainability performance of producing a metal catalyst versus a dedicated biochar catalyst. The comparative LCA results indicate that biochar production has a 93% reduction in GHG emissions and requires 95.7% less energy than the metal catalyst. Biochar production also releases few impacts on human health than metal catalyst. The disadvantage of biochar in ecosystem quality is due mostly to its larger agricultural land occupation impacts. Sensitivity analysis is also carried out for identifying the effects of variability in the two production systems on environmental impacts. In the metal catalyst manufacture, the production of nickel and energy used has significant effects on the environmental impacts. The gasification process using low moisture content (9%) and high yield type (8 tons/acre) of switchgrass is suggested as possibly a more sustainable scenario to produce syngas and biochar. Full Text

Wet Scrubbing of Biomass Producer Gas Tars Using Vegetable Oil

Ray Huhnkea, Krushna Patila, Ajay Kumara, and James Whiteleyb

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Chemical Engineeringb


The overall aims of this research study were to generate novel design data and to develop an equilibrium stage-based thermodynamic model of a vegetable oil based wet scrubbing system for the removal of model tar compounds (benzene, toluene and ethylbenzene) found in biomass producer gas. The specific objectives were to design, fabricate and evaluate a vegetable oil based wet scrubbing system and to optimize the design and operating variables; i.e., packed bed height, vegetable oil type, solvent temperature, and solvent flow rate. The experimental wet packed bed scrubbing system includes a liquid distributor specifically designed to distribute a high viscous vegetable oil uniformly and a mixing section, which was designed to generate a desired concentration of tar compounds in a simulated air stream. A method and calibration protocol of gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy was developed to quantify tar compounds. Experimental data were analyzed statistically using analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedure. Statistical analysis showed that both soybean and canola oils are potential solvents, providing comparable removal efficiency of tar compounds. The experimental height equivalent to a theoretical plate (HETP) was determined as 0.11 m for vegetable oil based scrubbing system. Packed bed height and solvent temperature had highly significant effect (p<0.0001) while, the solvent flow rate did not have a significant (p>0.05) effect on the removal of model tar compounds. The packing specific constants, Ch and CP,0, for the Billet and Schultes pressure drop correlation were determined as 2.52 and 2.93, respectively. The equilibrium stage based thermodynamic model predicted the removal efficiency of model tar compounds in the range of 1-6%, 1-4% and 1-2% of experimental data for benzene, toluene and ethylbenzene, respectively, for the solvent temperature of 30°C. The NRTLPR property model and UNIFAC for estimating binary interaction parameters are recommended for modeling absorption of tar compounds in vegetable oils. Bench scale experimental data from the wet scrubbing system would be useful in the design and operation of a pilot scale vegetable oil based system. The process model, validated using experimental data, would be a key design tool for the design and optimization of a pilot scale vegetable oil based system

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Conditioner effectiveness on the drying rate of high energy forage sorghum

a, Elizabeth Millerb, Michael Buserb, Raymond Huhnkeb, and Randal Taylorb

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringb

Abstract: In the push to expand the production of biofuels, researchers are searching for new sources of cellulosic biomass to help supply the world’s energy requirements. With new types of crops being used in this effort, new processing problems emerge. One problem that has been identified is how to swiftly process high energy forage sorghum from a standing crop to a stable biomass package for transport and storage. Current commercial processing uses mechanical conditioners to increase the rate at which water can escape the plant cells. However, this type of equipment has been optimized for forage production rather than bioenergy feedstocks. This research examines three mechanical conditioner designs to determine the unit’s power requirements and drying rate changes when processing high energy forage sorghum. The three designs include a fluted roll, chisel impeller and “V” impeller. Results showed minimal power requirement difference between the three conditioners. The drying times for forage sorghum that was conditioned with the “V” impeller, chisel impeller and fluted roll conditioner was 43.2, 32.2, and 12.5 hours, respectively. This was a reduction in drying time of 30.2, 47.8, and 79.7% when compared to unconditioned material for chisel impeller, “V” impeller, and fluted roll conditioners. Full Text