Improved physical separation of biomass concentrates higher value components, returns unused plant components to soil, decreases bulk for wet separation processes, decreases drying energy, and improves transportation and use of a voluminous, chemically diverse feedstock. Another project aim is to develop new low-input separation technologies, with emphasis on understanding separating as it relates to particle size, shape, and density. A UT survey showed similar concepts cutting across a range of separating actions. Pneumatic, gravity, and imaging exhibit the greatest potential. Separation metrics include purities of target components and efficiency at defined mass flow rate. Tasks include categorized listing of separating units based on functional relations with separation efficiency, material properties, and equipment factors; implementation of chemical analysis protocols to determine constituents of separated plant parts; advancing biological plant part imaging to identify particle sizes, shapes, and features for correlation with separation effectiveness; developing three to four table-top proof-of-concept devices; and developing a new demonstration separation unit that most nearly meets performance criteria established early in the project.

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