Graduate Students and Research Activities

Graduate students working in Production Machinery and their related research activities.

Doug Brownell, Ph.D. student, currently works with biomass harvest, handling, and usage. Doug's research focuses on modeling the interactions between the field and the final use. Models help determine the final costs and labor requirements that a system will need before it is built.

Other research is focused on gasification, a process to convert biomass into a gaseous fuel which may be burned in an internal combustion engine.

Ben Kemmerer, M.Sc. student, studies the harvest of biomass crops for renewable energy feedstocks by producing large square bales. Large square bales hold great promise as an efficient method to harvest, store, and transport herbaceous biomass crops. One of the biggest obstacles in the logistics of a biomass energy industry is the low density of the biomass. The goal of this research is to quantify the energy inputs that are necessary for large square bale production based on the density of the final product.

Yong You, a visiting Ph.D. student from China Agricultural University, is studying mechanical devices to recover degraded rangelands.

Research objectives are to design and test new devices, and to establish mathematical models for the interactions between these devices and soils.

red tractor

Switchgrass baling and bale handling tests (baler and tractor were provided by CNH America LLC, New Holland, PA)


Switchgrass baling and bale handling tests

loading trucks

Examine field efficiency and operating costs of a forage harvester system

field efficiency

Examine field (forage) efficiency and operating costs of a self-loading/chopping wagon provided by Alois Pöttinger Maschinenfabrik G.m.b.H


Investigating pressure – density relationships of energy crops