Integration of a cob separation system into a biomass harvesting combine

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Johnson, Jeremiah
Major Professor
Stuart J. Birrell
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Before the invention of a combine harvester, corn was picked on the ear and threshed later. This led to an availability of corn cobs and many uses were found. A renewed interest in the heat/energy value of the cob has increased the focus on harvesting corn cobs. A corn cob separation system was developed and installed on a single pass biomass harvesting combine. The system included a blower and two fans and the combine was capable of harvesting grain only, grain and stover, and grain and cobs. The cob separation system was evaluated using a stationary test with earcorn and stover bales with minimal field testing to validate the lab tests. The stationary tests evaluated 5 different separation zone configurations, 2 blower speeds, and 2 fan speeds. Cob purity averaged 71% and the collection efficiency averaged 84% with fan power consumption of 20 and 36 kW and blower power consumption of 3.1 and 5.3 kW. Field tests showed cob purity averages of 84% while the collection efficiency averaged 76%.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2010