A novel class of flowable biomass feedstock particles with unusually large surface areas that can be manufactured in remarkably uniform sizes using low-energy comminution techniques. The feedstock particles are roughly parallelepiped in shape and characterized by a length dimension (L) aligned substantially with the grain direction and defining a substantially uniform distance along the grain, a width dimension (W) normal to L and aligned cross grain, and a height dimension (H) normal to W and L. The particles exhibit a disrupted grain structure with prominent end and surface checks that greatly enhances their skeletal surface area as compared to their envelope surface area. The L.times.H dimensions define a pair of substantially parallel side surfaces characterized by substantially intact longitudinally arrayed fibers. The W.times.H dimensions define a pair of substantially parallel end surfaces characterized by crosscut fibers and end checking between fibers. The L.times.W dimensions define a pair of substantially parallel top surfaces characterized by some surface checking between longitudinally arrayed fibers. The feedstock particles are manufactured from a variety of plant biomass materials including wood, crop residues, plantation grasses, hemp, bagasse, and bamboo.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT LICENSE RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support by the Small Business Innovation Research program of the U.S. Department of Energy, Contract SC0002291. The government has certain rights in the invention.