Project ID



From 2009-2012 the COBS team used a standard method to estimate carbohydrates in the biomass harvested from the biofuel systems in order to determine the cellulosic yields. This project performed the same analysis for 2012 harvested biomass, and further analyzed biomass from 2009-2012 using a method that is less commonly used due to its expense, but is much more accurate.

Key Question

When comparing prairie biomass and maize stover, does the method of carbohydrate content measurement affect conclusions about crop fuel yields?


Biomass from 2009-2012 was analyzed using a standard method and a very accurate, but expensive method. Results showed that if the goal of the study is to evaluate biomass ethanol conversion potential, the expensive method should be used. If the goal is to compare ethanol yields per unit land area, assuming constant values from literature or utilizing data from the standard method is acceptable.

Principal Investigator(s)

Fernando Miguez


Virginia Nichols

Year of Grant Completion