The 3-year study is intended to expedite the development of a commercialized cellulosic biofuel sector by improving the efficiency of the logistics systems of woody biomass feedstock required for biofuel production.
The study will determine woody biomass quality in the Southeast and identify the relationship with conversion performance. Additionally, the cost and energy use for woody biomass feedstock size reduction through both conventional and advanced technologies will be obtained at an industrial scale, and the cost and quality of the feedstock will be incorporated to address the challenges of balancing cost and quality in feedstock logistics for scaling up biofuel production.
The study includes the evaluation of alternative pre-processing technologies in feedstock logistics systems for hardwood logging residues and an energy crop -- hybrid poplar -- to supply biofuel production.
The UTIA multidisciplinary research team includes agricultural economists, forest scientists, chemists, and biosystems engineers, with collaboration from a bioenergy company, Proton Power, Inc., and a biomass research and development company, Forest Concepts, LLC. (Source: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Bioenergy Insight, 13 May, 2019) Contact: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, (865) 974-6756, https://ag.tennessee.edu/Pages/default.aspx
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Forest Concepts, a manufacturer of precision woody and herbaceous feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproduct applications, leveraged NREL's capabilities in biomass conversion modeling to help quantify the impact of their feedstock characteristics based on various particle shapes and sizes. The NREL team is part of the Consortium for Computational Physics and Chemistry (CCPC), which uses high-performance computing to support the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).
Prior to the development of the NREL models, Forest Concepts provided feedstock pricing based on volume and size of the biomass particle. Using the NREL models, Forest Concepts can now provide information to their customers such as standardized performance, required conversion conditions, and expected yields based on the size and shape of feedstock particles.
BETO recognized early on the value of developing detailed biomass feedstock particle models to understand how the properties of each particle impact the yield and composition products from the conversion process. Moving forward, these capabilities will be leveraged by the newly established Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) whose mission is to quantify, understand, and manage variability in biomass from field through downstream conversion and to understand how biomass composition, structure, and behavior impact system performance.
FCIC is an integrated and collaborative network of eight national laboratories dedicated to addressing technical risks and understanding how biomass properties influence collection, storage, handling, preprocessing and conversion technologies with the goal of improving the overall operational reliability of integrated pioneer biorefineries. (Source: NREL, PR, 10 Dec., 2018)
Contact: NREL, Peter Ciesielski, Scientist, www.nrel.gov;
US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office; Forest Concepts, James H. Dooley, CTO, (253) 333-9663, www.forestconcepts.com;
Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium, https://fcic.inl.gov
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