Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kozo Saito

Second Advisor

Dr. Nelson K. Akafuah


Raw biomass material is bulky, high in void fraction, and very low in transportation efficiency. Furthermore, biomass dissipates quickly in harsh environments of high heat furnaces because of its relatively low calorific value (BTU/lb) and has grinding or size degradation properties highly dissimilar from commonly-used fossil fuels like coal. Therefore, the development of transformational technologies are necessary to convert raw biomass into high-value and useful products of high hardness and calorific value without requiring excessive process energy.

This thesis investigates the sustainability of densified biomass fuels. In addition, a procedure that converts raw biomass from agro/forest industry waste into a fuel source known as semi-carbonized densified biomass (SCDB) is shown to have the necessary performance qualities that are conducive to applications involving the harsh conditions of high heat furnaces. The SCDB is produced at temperatures between 115-230°C and pressures between 8-25 MPa. The raw biomass is transformed into a densified fuel source with maximum compressive strengths between 60-200 MPa and calorific values between 18-23 MJ/kg, which are essential to operating in high heat furnace environments. The procedural steps and equipment used to manufacture this densified fuel source are outlined in detail along with experimental results and discussions of initial testing.