Quantifying lignin and carbohydrate composition of corn (Zea mays L.) is important to support the emerging cellulosic biofuels industry. Therefore, field studies with 0 or 100 % stover removal were established in Alabama and South Carolina as part of the Sun Grant Regional Partnership Corn Stover Project. In Alabama, cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) was also included as an additional experimental factor, serving as a winter cover crop. Plots were located on major soil types representative of their respective states: Compass and Decatur soils in Alabama and a Coxville/Rains-Goldsboro-Lynchburg soil association in South Carolina. Lignin and structural carbohydrate concentrations in the whole (above-ground) plant, cobs, vegetation excluding cobs above the primary ear (top), vegetation below the primary ear (bottom), and vegetation from above the primary ear including cobs (above-ear fraction) were determined using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The distribution of lignin, ash, and structural carbohydrates varied among plant fractions, but neither inclusion of a rye cover crop nor the stover harvest treatments consistently affected carbohydrate concentrations within locations. Total precipitation and average air temperature during the growing season were strongly correlated with stover composition indicating that weather conditions may have multiple effects on potential biofuel production (i.e., not only yield but also stover quality). When compared to the above-ear fractions, bottom plant partitions contained greater lignin concentrations. Holocellulose concentration was consistently greater in the above-ear fractions at all three locations. Data from this study suggests that the above-ear plant portions have the most desirable characteristics for cellulosic ethanol production via fermentation in the southeastern USA.
In July 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) released a request for information (RFI) to seek input from industry, academia, national laboratories, and other biofuels and bioproducts stakeholders to identify existing capabilities to produce lignocellulosic sugars and lignin for use by the research community. The purpose of this RFI is to develop a comprehensive list of suppliers who are willing and able to produce and sell cellulosic sugar and/or lignin for use by the research community.
BETO has made this list of RFI responses available on its website, providing a table with the organization, location, feedstock, process, and capacity/quantity. Users can select and open each RFI response to obtain more details and read them in full.
BETO intends to leave the RFI open indefinitely and will continue to collect and post responses.
For more information or to view the summary of RFI responses, visit http://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/cellulosic-sugar-and-lignin-production-capabilities-rfi-responses.