Agricultural Engineering Syllabus

July 7, 2018

Kerala Agricultural University

ABE 885: Biomass Harvesting and Logistics (3). This course covers biomass handling options and relevant cost analysis, engineering principles of field equipment, new technology and practical methods of evaluation and testing, field performance of machine systems for biomass harvesting and handling operations, selection and management of field machine systems with efficiency and sustainability considerations. Prerequisite: ABE 884.


Prof Jude Liu

Office Hours (Forum): Thursdays 8:00 - 10:00PM EST

Course Description

This course provides a broad foundation in machine field capacities, machine system limitations, efficiencies, power and fuel characteristics, and the economic performance of machine systems. Human factors and operator performance are discussed and considered in machine systems analysis. Calculation and field evaluation methods of a machine system will be discussed focusing on power requirements, fuel consumption, and material efficiency. Field harvesting and handling activities in commercial farms will be used as examples.

Engineering principles of typical harvesting machines and their power units, such as hay tools, material handling equipment, storage, and transportation facilities will be studied. Videos taken from field performance evaluation of machine systems will be used as examples in classroom discussion. Standards and regulations relevant to machine performance and field operations will also be discussed.

Typical biomass harvesting and handling options and scenarios will be studied, and cost analysis commercial-scale examples will be used to demonstrate system capacity and cost analysis. Students will then be guided to compare the costs for different scenarios of biomass logistics systems.

Relevant standards and regulations will be introduced in specific sections. These standards and regulations cover test methods, safety regulations, and environmental policies. Organizations that publish these rules will include but not limited ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), and other institutions such as ISO, ANSI, etc.

This course serves as a foundation for those wishing to manage machine systems in biomass production area. Machine systems are an integral part of many agricultural operations from field production to post-harvest processing, storage, transportation, and bio-based processing. Biomass feedstock logistics and bioenergy production systems heavily rely on machine systems.

This course consists of lectures, field observations, and open-ended projects. At least one project will require participants to observe real commercial field harvesting/handling operations, evaluate the system, and then propose improvements. Practical examples will focus on testing and evaluating machine performance using prototype machines and instruments.

The prerequisite to this course, ABE 884, provides a broad overview of the nature of biomass feedstocks, their availability, and usage. ABE 885 builds on the requisite background and focuses on biomass harvesting, handling, and cost issues. ABE 885 is one of the set of required courses for the Bioenergy option.

Disclaimer: The machines/equipment used in this course are chosen based on purposes of instruction; not for any commercial purposes; nor reflecting personal opinions on the machine discussed. Permission to use brand names and images of equipment has been granted by the manufacturer(s).

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Characterize operational performance of farm machines and select suitable machines for a specific application of biomass harvesting and handling.
  2. Quantitatively evaluate and improve the economic performance of a machine system accomplishing a biomass logistics task.
  3. Calculate costs for a variety of machine systems to perform specific biomass harvesting and/or handling tasks.
  4. Apply safety and environmental regulations to biomass harvesting and handling activities.
  5. Demonstrate strong technical report writing skills.

Course Format

Online Lectures: One module per week

Online Forum: Active Q/A during office hours; questions/thoughts can be posted any time.

Assignments: One per module

Project: One project (self-determined, upon instructor's approval)

Evaluation and Grading

Participation 8%
Assignments (10) 72%
Project (1) 20%
Total 100%
Grading Scale
Excellent 93 - 100
A- 88 - 92
Good B+ 82 - 87
77 - 81
B- 72 - 76
C+ 66 - 71
Satisfactory 61 - 65
56 - 60
Failure 0 - 55

Policies and Guidelines

  1. Assignments/Quizzes will be due according to the dates listed in the Course Schedule unless otherwise noted by the instructor.
  2. Graphical results and tables must have captions and be completely labeled with units.
  3. Students are responsible for any of their missed work. The instructor will NOT be obligated to inform students of any missed work.
  4. Late work will lose 10% of the maximum total possible for the given assignment for each day late (unless prior approval was obtained from the instructor).
  5. Reading assignments are selected carefully; they will be included in exams and quizzes.



Log-In Policy

Students are expected to log-in regularly to keep up-to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures and the Code of Conduct).

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University’s Academic Integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University’s standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Genetic Engineering and Society, Lecture 5a, Honors
Genetic Engineering and Society, Lecture 5a, Honors ...
Genetic Engineering and Society, Lecture 3b, Honors
Genetic Engineering and Society, Lecture 3b, Honors ...
Genetic Engineering and Society, Lecture 14b, Honors
Genetic Engineering and Society, Lecture 14b, Honors ...

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