, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 599–619 | Cite as

Corn stover availability for biomass conversion: situation analysis

  • J. Richard HessEmail author
  • Kevin L. Kenney
  • Christopher T. Wright
  • Robert Perlack
  • Anthony Turhollow


As biorefining conversion technologies become commercial, feedstock availability, supply system logistics, and biomass material attributes are emerging as major barriers to the availability of corn stover for biorefining. While systems do exist to supply corn stover as feedstock to biorefining facilities, stover material attributes affecting physical deconstruction, such as densification and post-harvest material stability, challenge the cost-effectiveness of present-day feedstock logistics systems. In addition, the material characteristics of corn stover create barriers with any supply system design in terms of equipment capacity/efficiency, dry matter loss, and capital use efficiency. However, analysis of a conventional large square bale corn stover feedstock supply system concludes that (1) where other agronomic factors are not limiting, corn stover can be accessed and supplied to a biorefinery using existing bale-based technologies, (2) technologies and new supply system designs are necessary to overcome biomass bulk density and moisture material property challenges, and (3) major opportunities to improve conventional bale biomass feedstock supply systems include improvements in equipment efficiency and capacity and reducing biomass losses in harvesting, collection, and storage. Finally, the backbone of an effective stover supply system design is the optimization of intended and minimization of unintended material property changes as the corn stover passes through the individual supply system processes from the field to the biorefinery conversion processes.


Feedstock logistics Corn stover Harvesting Collection Storage Preprocessing Transportation 



This work was supported by the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, under DOE Idaho Operations Office Contract DE-AC07-05ID14517.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Richard Hess
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kevin L. Kenney
    • 1
  • Christopher T. Wright
    • 1
  • Robert Perlack
    • 2
  • Anthony Turhollow
    • 2
  1. 1.Idaho National LaboratoryIdaho FallsUSA
  2. 2.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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