(275f) Biomass Blending & Densification: Impacts on Biochemical Conversion Performance

Authors: 
Ray, A. E., Idaho National Laboratory
Li, C., Idaho National Laboratory
Thompson, V. S., Idaho National Laboratory
Nagle, N. J., National Renewable Energy Laboratory
A blended feedstock strategy has been proposed to address the high cost of feedstock production and reduce risk to the biomass supply chain. The use of blended and densified feedstocks in biochemical conversion pathways instead of conventionally-ground biomass from a single source addresses several challenges in the current biomass supply chain, including availability, transportation, storage, cost, quality, and supply variability. Blending provides a mechanism to reduce risk to the supply chain and reduce feedstock cost by coupling location-specific resource utilization with biofuel production. Preliminary results suggest blending and densification provide a viable path forward to a low-cost, consistent biomass supply. Recent work has investigated the impacts of blended and densified feedstocks on sugar yields in biochemical conversion pathways. Recent studies have demonstrated that densification does not negatively impact biomass recalcitrance; reactivity was equivalent for ground and pelleted corn stover. Recent studies provide a glimpse into the potential for preprocessing options, like blending and densification, to provide benefits to not only logistics, but downstream conversion. However, the impact blending and preprocessing may have on variability and conversion performance has not been fully vetted. The cumulative impact of densification and blending on biochemical conversion processes will be discussed.