Biorefiners perfer feedstocks that are consistent in quality attributes, such as moisture, ash, and convertible sugars that allow their technologies to operate most efficiently. However, biomass in its raw form is typically aerobically unstable, high in moisture, with highly variable chemical properties - even within a single field.
The BFNUF Biomass Analytical Library has expertise, instrumentation, amd analytical tools that help both feedstock and conversion developers better understand feedstock diversity and performance, The chemical and physical properties of biomass and biomass feedstocks are characterized as they move through the supply chain to various conversion technologies. Collaboration with conversion developers helps correlate quality with performance.
The BFNUF works with universities and industry partners to maintain a library of herbaceous and woody biomass samples. All analyses performed on these samples, including moisture content, compositional analysis, ash content, or fuel characteristics, are included in an extensive web-accessible feedstock properties database, This data is used to identify preprocessing operations to achieve refinery specifications.
A number of analytical supply system design tools are available. Logistics and site-specific supply assessment tools are used to design cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable feedstock supply systems. A "Least-cost Formulation" system design, blends low-cost, low-quality biomass with higher cost and quality biomass as a means to lower the cost of custom-blended feedstocks. This design allows the supply chain to add other preprocessing technologies that actively control feedstock quality. The result is that more varieties and conditions of bio-mass can enter the supply system.
This least-cost formulation analysis and design approach used at BFNUF, is an example of an industry-enabling feedstock development capability.