The efficiency of biomass production is enhanced at every step of the process using ASD systems. Monitoring plant physiological status, estimation of biomass tonnage, prediction of fermentable energy output can all be enhance using ASD systems. Each phase of the biomass production process involves sampling and testing, traditionally conducted in a lab scenario. ASD’s near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy technology allows for accurate real-time biomass analysis where and when it’s needed, throughout the production process. ASD technology shortens the time involved in testing the product, greatly reduces the cost of measurement techniques, and ultimately improves the quality of the final product by allowing for real-time adjustments across all stages of production, from raw material to end-product.
The National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) in Golden, Colorado has been developing cost effective, environmentally friendly biomass conversion technologies. One of the early leaders in the search for alternative fuel sources is cellulosic ethanol. While conventional ethanol is derived from grain, such as corn, cellulosic ethanol is produced using a wide range of cellulose-rich biomass.
The use of near-infrared (NIR) analysis has been key in the efforts at NREL. ASD's FieldSpec® instruments are currently, and very successfully, used for NREL's Biomass Research and Development project. ASD instruments have helped NREL greatly increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of their research. Private sector agricultural and industrial leaders have also recognized the need to reduce lab costs, increase sample throughput, and boost analytical efficiency by utilizing the power of NIR analysis. ASD systems equipped with quantitative multivariate predictive models have been used to measure biomass quality as part of the biomass value-chain.
As the quest for natural reserves of crude oil becomes more and more difficult, the development of renewable energy sources has come to the forefront of both economic and environmental concerns world-wide. Additionally, under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the EPA is responsible for promulgating regulations to ensure that gasoline sold in the United States contains a specific volume of renewable fuel. The national Renewable Fuel Program (also known as the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, or RFS Program) led to the development of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The goals of these programs were to increase the production of renewable fuel and to improve the quality of this fuel.
Given the requirements of these programs, alternative methods for the production of ethanol will be critical to meet the growing demand. ASD’s field portable Vis/NIR spectrometers are ideal for rapidly predicting material content and multiple constituent analysis (i.e. moisture, fermentable starch, lignin, cellulose, etc.) of biomass materials.
Learn more about using NIR for biomass analysis and research.