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Analysis of Willow
Willow

Background

Willow is a hardwood that is often grown as an energy crop for utilisation in biomass power stations or, potentially, for the production of advanced (cellulosic) biofuels in second generation biorefineries.

When it is grown as an enery crop it is usually cultivated as a short rotation coppice. Under this practice the willow crop is typically harvested every 3-5 years.


Analysis of Willow at Celignis


Celignis Analytical can determine the following properties of Willow samples:

If you would like us to analyse your Willow samples then please select the appropriate analysis packages from our list.

Cellulose Content of Willow

Willow is a hardwood and so will have a good cellulose content. The whole-plant cellulose content will depend on: the productivity of the tree; the mass ratio of stem biomass to foliage; the cutting cycle; and the particular willow variety.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine cellulose content.



Hemicellulose Content of Willow

Given that it is a hardwood, willows will typically have a lower hemicellulose content than herbaceous energy crops (e.g. Miscanthus). The principal hemicellulose sugar is xylose with small amounts of galactose, mannose, arabinose, and rhamnose present.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine hemicellulose content.



Lignin Content of Willow

As a hardwood willow will have a good lignin content. The whole-plant lignin content will depend on: the productivity of the tree; the mass ratio of stem biomass to foliage; the cutting cycle; and the particular willow variety.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine lignin content.



Starch Content of Willow

The starch content of willows varies between the different anatomical components of the plant. Typically it is highest in the leaves, where photosynthesis takes place, and lower in the stems. The starch content can also vary according to the maturity of the plant.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine starch content.



Uronic Acid Content of Willow

The uronic acids glucuronic acid and galacturonic acid are present in the hemicelluloses of willows.

Click here to read more about uronic acids and to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine uronic acid content.



Ash Content of Willow

The ash content of willows is typically reasonably low although this will be dependent on the variety and the amount of foliage present on the standing crop.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine ash content.



Heating (Calorific) Value of Willow

Willows have good heating values, meaning that they are suitable for utilisation in boilers for the production of heat and/or electricity. However the effective heating value will depend greatly on the moisture content of the crop.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine heating value.



Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) of Willow

Willow coppices are considered to be a somewhat difficult feedstock to process in anaerobic digestion reactors. This is due to their relatively high lignin contents and low concentrations of the more volatile constituents (e.g. starch, water soluble carbohydrates, lipids). As a result, the biochemical methane potential (BMP) of coppice willows is typically significantly lower than that associated with the more conventional anaerobic digestion energy crops, such as maize (corn).

However, there have been a number of studies that have shown that the biochemical methane potential of willows can be significantly increased following a pre-treatment that makes the lignocellulosic matrix of the feedstock more amenable to hydrolysing anaerobes.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine the biochemical methane potential (BMP) and here to read more about anaerobic digestion and the most important analytes for this process.



Bulk Density of Willow

At Celignis we can determine the bulk density of biomass samples, including Willow, according to ISO standard 17828 (2015). This method requires the biomass to be in an appropriate form (chips or powder) for density determination.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine bulk density.



Basic Density of Willow

At Celignis we can determine the basic density of some suitable biomass samples. The method requires the biomass to be in an appropriate form (chips) for density determination.

Click here to see the Celignis Analysis Packages that determine basic density.

 

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