skip to main content


Title: Sources of biomass feedstock variability and the potential impact on biofuels production

In this study, terrestrial lignocellulosic biomass has the potential to be a carbon neutral and domestic source of fuels and chemicals. However, the innate variability of biomass resources, such as herbaceous and woody materials, and the inconsistency within a single resource due to disparate growth and harvesting conditions, presents challenges for downstream processes which often require materials that are physically and chemically consistent. Intrinsic biomass characteristics, including moisture content, carbohydrate and ash compositions, bulk density, and particle size/shape distributions are highly variable and can impact the economics of transforming biomass into value-added products. For instance, ash content increases by an order of magnitude between woody and herbaceous feedstocks (from ~0.5 to 5 %, respectively) while lignin content drops by a factor of two (from ~30 to 15 %, respectively). This increase in ash and reduction in lignin leads to biofuel conversion consequences, such as reduced pyrolysis oil yields for herbaceous products as compared to woody material. In this review, the sources of variability for key biomass characteristics are presented for multiple types of biomass. Additionally, this review investigates the major impacts of the variability in biomass composition on four conversion processes: fermentation, hydrothermal liquefaction, pyrolysis, and direct combustion. Finally, futuremore » research processes aimed at reducing the detrimental impacts of biomass variability on conversion to fuels and chemicals are proposed.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1939-1234; PII: 9694
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
BioEnergy Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1939-1234
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; composition; variability; conversion; biochemical; thermochemical
OSTI Identifier: