Silica Production across Candidate Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Feedstocks Academic Article uri icon


  • Biofuels produced from non-food lignocellulosic feedstocks have the potential to replace a significant percentage of fossil fuels via high yield potential and suitability for cultivation on marginal lands. Commercialization of dedicated lignocellulosic crops into single biofuels, however, is hampered by conversion technology costs and decreasing oil prices. Integrated biorefinery approaches, where value-added chemicals are produced in conjunction with biofuels, offer significant potential towards overcoming this economic disadvantage. In this study, candidate lignocellulosic feedstocks were evaluated for their potential biomass and silica yields. Feedstock entries included pearl millet-napiergrass (PMN; Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br. P. purpureum Schumach.), napiergrass (P. purpureum Schumach.), annual sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench), pearl millet (P. glaucum [L.] R. Br.), perennial sorghum (Sorghum spp.), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.), giant miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus J.M. Greef and Deuter), and energy cane (Saccharum spp.). Replicated plots were planted at three locations and characterized for biomass yield, chemical composition including hemicellulose, cellulose, acid detergent lignin (ADL), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), crude protein (CP), and silica concentration. The PMN, napiergrass, energy cane, and sunn hemp had the highest biomass yields. They were superior candidates for ethanol production due to high cellulose and hemicellulose content. They also had high silica yield except for sunn hemp. Silica yield among feedstock entries ranged from 41 to 3249 kg ha1. Based on high bioethanol and biosilica yield potential, PMN, napiergrass, and energy cane are the most promising biorefinery feedstock candidates for improving biofuel profitability.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Xu, Y., Porter, N., Foster, J. L., Muir, J. P., Schwab, P., Burson, B. L., & Jessup, R. W.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Xu, Yifeng||Porter, Nick||Foster, Jamie L||Muir, James P||Schwab, Paul||Burson, Byron L||Jessup, Russell W

publication date

  • January 2020