Scott Pryor, Mario Biodini
Although most studies of cellulosic ethanol have concentrated on relatively homogenous feedstocks such as corn stover, wheat straw, or switchgrass, there may be significant production benefits from plantin and harvesting mixed species fields such as found on typical CRP land. Yield variability over a period of years should be small with similar longterm average production. Mixed species fields should also require fewer pesticide and fertilizer inputs. Technical feasibility of processing these heterogeneous biomass crops has not been explored.
Compositional analysis will be completed for a variety of plant species mixture grown under different conditions to determine the theoretical ethanol yield. Thermochemical pretreatment methods will also be tested on these feedstocks to determine optimum operating parameters and the robustness of different technologies against changing feedstocks.