Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 9:45 PM

Standard analytical methods supporting biomass conversion processes, ASTME48 activities

Foster Agblevor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 200 Seitz Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061 and Bonnie R. Hames, Ceres, Inc., 1535 Rancho Conejo Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320.

Realizing the goals of the 30x’30 initiative will require the development, standardization and validation of hundreds of new analytical methods specifically for biomass.  The data generated from these analytical methods will be used to evaluate feedstocks, optimize reactors and determine process economics for bench-scale to commercial-scale processes that convert biomass feedstocks to liquid transportation fuels.  Efficient utilization of the slate of biomass feedstocks proposed in the DOE Billion Ton Study will require a multitude of individual analytical methods capable of tracking as many as 20 constituents from feedstock to products.  
Deployment of biomass analysis into the private sector will more likely be in the form of high-throughput methods that will be calibrated using, and validated relative to, the best chemical and structural tools available, providing a research environment rich in high quality data.
Since engineering concepts and economic projections will be dependent on process analytical data, a clear QA/QC trail should be established linking high-throughput analysis methods to rigorous scientific and statistical standards.  This can most easily be accomplished by establishing industry-wide consensus methods and publishing them through existing standards organization such as American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Current standards activities in ASTM Committee E48 covering standards in Biotechnology and subcommittee E48.05 covering standards for biomass conversion will be presented.