The success of lignocellulosic biofuels and biochemical industries depends on an economic and reliable supply of high‐quality biomass. However, research and development efforts have been historically focused on the utilization of agriculturally derived cellulosic feedstocks, without considerations of their low energy density, high variations in compositions and potential supply risks in terms of availability and affordability. This chapter demonstrated a strategy of feedstock blending and densification to address the supply chain challenges. Blending takes advantage of low‐cost feedstock to avoid the prohibitive costs incurred through reliance on a single feedstock resource, while densification produces feedstocks with increased bulk density and desirable feed handling properties, as well as reduced transportation cost. We also review recent research on the blending and densification dealing with various types of feedstocks with a focus on the impacts of these preprocessing steps on biochemical conversion, that is, various thermochemical pretreatment chemistries and enzymatic hydrolysis, into fermentable sugars for biofuel production.
Part of the book: Biomass Volume Estimation and Valorization for Energy
Bioenergy is an important renewable energy option worldwide, but the industry is susceptible to a myriad of risks including biomass supply, of which drought plays a role. Crops yields decrease during drought, increasing year-to-year risk for the agricultural industry. For the renewable energy industry, in particular, the effect of drought on crops is substantial and complex. This chapter discusses the current state of knowledge regarding how drought affects biomass destined for renewable energy as it relates to dry biomass yields and chemistry, the latter of which heavily impacts cost of production and final product yields. Advanced supply systems are one option for reducing biomass supply risk. These systems lead to higher, less variable crop yields during uncontrollable events like drought; however, the quality of material supplied in a drought year may still vary as drought impacts plant chemistry. This chapter provides analysis for chemical composition of four bioenergy crops observing that both carbohydrates and lignin decrease during a drought year compared to a year with minimal to no drought. These chemical changes can impact biochemical conversion through inhibitor formation and altering degradability during pretreatment.
Part of the book: Drought