TABLE I.1 Composition of Poplar Woodchips and High-Sugar/Glucan Biomass (percentage)

 

Poplar Woodchips

HGBM

Acetic acid

1.95

1.08

Ash

0.60

0.33

Cellullose

23.70

25.00

Extractives

1.95

1.08

Lignin

15.75

10.00

Water

18.00

50.00

Xylan

8.06

12.50

contain about 48 percent water, and the concentrations of sugars and lignin are 61 and 30 percent wt/wt, respectively, on a dry-weight basis. Because a high lignin content is not typical of all cellulosic biomass, the panel generated a “high-sugar/glucan biomass” (HGBM) feedstock to analyze the effects of a different biomass composition. HGBM has sugar and lignin concentrations of 75 and 20 percent, respectively. All other components were kept at the same relative percentages as in the poplar woodchips; water content was set at 50 percent (instead of the 48 percent in poplar) for simplicity.

Cellulosic-Biomass Feedstock Alternatives

The composition of the feedstock used in the analyses could affect capital and operating costs. For example, a biorefinery that uses poplar woodchips as a feedstock has to include a burner and a steam electrical generator to burn the lignin residue for electricity generation; in contrast, wheat straw does not have enough lignin to provide any energy for the biorefinery. Therefore, the panel also assessed the process economics and environmental effects of biorefineries using different feedstocks. The different biomass compositions are shown in Table I.2. All compositions, apart from the case of poplar, are on a dry-weight basis. References obtained for these biomass compositions were inconsistent and had large ranges. The ranges of values overlap for some individual components, such as glucan or lignin. The most consistent and credible values were selected for the analysis, and they were mostly averages of the maximum and minimum for the spreads. The problem of mass closure was resolved by including a trace amount of water to reach 100 percent, and the price basis for the biomass was adjusted to reflect that. For example, if the initial price was $70/ton—(2)($35/ton of poplar woodchips on



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