Feedstock Systems Engineering

Storage bins at depot and a reclaim auger prior to installation into the bottom of the bin.


Engineering is defined as "the application of science to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of structures, machines, and systems." Feedstock Systems Engineering involves a wide range of disciplines and specific problems. For instance, harvesting involves machinery that interacts with living systems (the switchgrass plant) so that the plant is properly cut, fed, chopped, and discharged into tip wagon. The degree of chopping and resulting particle size spectra depends on plant strength properties that change as the plant dies and dries during the natural plant senescence process. This particle size spectra has a system-wide impact on bulk density, flow-ability during handling and conveyance, and compaction characteristics during storage and packing into the ejector trailer for transport. Thus, engineering feedstock systems, such as that demonstrated here with switchgrass, involves a holistic design taking into account cause-and-effect processes. Robust, successful deployment of human-engineered equipment to operate under various natural weather and biological conditions is the ultimate goal.