Chemical and Thermal Properties of Poplar and Willow

We want to understand the chemical composition of poplar and willow clones to optimize their sustainable use in energy production.

Research question

Physical and chemical properties of woody material vary among different parts of the tree and with the type of tree, age, and management system. It will be important to understand this variation in order to determine the suitability of various feedstocks for use by different consumers, such as electric power producers or ethanol manufacturers. This project will look at samples of poplar and willow grown in Escanaba, MI to determine the properties that may affect the production yield of biofuel from woody materials. Components of the trees that will be examined include cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin and wood extractives.



Several clones of poplar, willow, and aspen were harvested, debarked and analyzed for their cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin content. Four taxa of poplar hybrids, one of aspen, and 12 willow varieties all planted in 1998 were harvested and the materials collected for chemical and thermal characterization.  Composition was compared among the different woody materials.  


Progress and Results

Most of the field and lab work for this project has been completed. Data analysis and the compilation of results are currently taking place.