Drought Effects on Composition and Yield for Corn Stover, Mixed Grasses, and Miscanthus as Bioenergy Feedstocks

Courtney Payne, Rachel Emerson, Amber Hoover, Allison Ray, Jeffrey Lacey, Marnie Cortez, Douglas Karlen, Stuart Birrell, David Laird, Robert Kallenbach, Josh Egenolf, Matthew Sousek, Thomas Voigt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus Citations


Drought conditions in 2012 were some of the most severe in recent history. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of drought on quality, quantity, and theoretical ethanol yield (TEY) of three bioenergy feedstocks, corn stover, mixed grasses from Conservation Reserve Program lands, and Miscanthus × giganteus. To assess drought effects on these feedstocks, samples from 2010 (minimal to no drought) and 2012 (severe drought) were compared from multiple locations in the US. In all feedstocks, drought significantly increased extractives and reduced structural sugars and lignin; subsequently, TEYs were reduced 10-15%. Biomass yields were significantly reduced for M. × giganteus and mixed grasses. When reduction in quality and quantity were combined, TEYs decreased 26-59%. Drought negatively affected biomass quality and quantity that resulted in significant TEY reductions. Such fluctuations in biomass quality and yield may have significant consequences for developing lignocellulosic biorefineries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 © 2014 Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, contract manager for Idaho National Laboratory. Published by Taylor & Francis.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-63019


  • bioconversion
  • compatiple osmotic solutes
  • compositional analysis
  • drought
  • theoretical ethanol yield


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