Real-Time Biomass Feedstock Particle Quality Detection Using Image Analysis and Machine Vision

Chandrakanth Gudavalli, Elizabeth Bose, Bryon Donohoe, David Sievers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


A common and costly challenge in the nascent biorefinery industry is the consistent handling and conveyance of biomass feedstock materials, which can vary widely in their chemical, physical, and mechanical properties. Solutions to cope with varying feedstock qualities will be required, including advanced process controls to adjust equipment and reject feedstocks that do not meet a quality standard. In this work, we present and evaluate methods to autonomously assess corn stover feedstock quality in real time and provide data to process controls with low-cost camera hardware. We explore the use of neural networks to classify feedstocks based on actual processing behavior and pixel matrix feature parameterization to further assess particle attributes that may explain the variable processing behavior. We used the pretrained ResNet neural network coupled with a gated recurrent unit (GRU) time-series classifier trained on our image data, resulting in binary classification of feedstock anomalies with favorable performance. The textural aspects of the image data were statistically analyzed to determine if the textural features were predictive of operational disruptions. The significant textural features were angular second moment, prominence, mean height of surface profile, mean resultant vector, shade, skewness, variation of the polar facet orientation, and direction of azimuthal facets. Expansion of these models is recommended across a wider variety of labeled feedstock images of different qualities and species to develop a more robust tool that may be deployed using low-cost cameras within biorefineries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5739-5750
Number of pages12
JournalBiomass Conversion and Biorefinery
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-77205


  • Automated image analysis
  • Biomass feedstock
  • Machine vision
  • Neural network


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-Time Biomass Feedstock Particle Quality Detection Using Image Analysis and Machine Vision'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this