skip to main content


Title: Vertical distribution of structural components in corn stover

In the United States, corn ( Zea mays L.) stover has been targeted for second generation fuel production and other bio-products. Our objective was to characterize sugar and structural composition as a function of vertical distribution of corn stover (leaves and stalk) that was sampled at physiological maturity and about three weeks later from multiple USA locations. A small subset of samples was assessed for thermochemical composition. Concentrations of lignin, glucan, and xylan were about 10% greater at grain harvest than at physiological maturity, but harvestable biomass was about 25% less due to stalk breakage. Gross heating density above the ear averaged 16.3 ± 0.40 MJ kg⁻¹, but with an alkalinity measure of 0.83 g MJ⁻¹, slagging is likely to occur during gasification. Assuming a stover harvest height of 10 cm, the estimated ethanol yield would be >2500 L ha⁻¹, but it would be only 1000 L ha⁻¹ if stover harvest was restricted to the material from above the primary ear. Vertical composition of corn stover is relatively uniform; thus, decision on cutting height may be driven by agronomic, economic and environmental considerations.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [4] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Morris, MN (United States)
  2. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA (United States)
  3. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  4. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Florence, SC (United States)
  5. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Mandan, ND (United States)
  6. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, NE (United States)
  7. Iowa State University, Ames, IA (United States)
  8. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, St. Paul, MN (United States)
  9. Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK (United States)
  10. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  11. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
  12. CPESC #651, Labadie, MO (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517; FC36-05GO85041
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 4; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2077-0472
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; lignocellulosic biomass; theoretical ethanol yield; soil organic carbon; sustainable; bioenergy; second generation feedstock
OSTI Identifier: