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Courtney E. Payne

Courtney Payne is a scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) National Bioenergy Center (NBC) in Golden, Colorado. She is highly proficient at performing the NREL suite of Laboratory Analytical Procedures (LAPs) and contributes to both in-house and external client training. Courtney has also contributed to the most recent revisions of two of these procedures.

Courtney manages compositional analysis projects through data management and organization. Courtney is proficient in near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy using both dispersive and Fourier-Transform (FT) instrumentation. She is working with colleagues to develop partial least squares (PLS) and principal component analysis (PCA) models based on NIR spectroscopy and compositional analysis constituents. Courtney also mentors and manages the biomass analysis group's interns.

Before joining NREL, Courtney worked as a synthetic organic chemist at Array Biopharma, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. She developed novel compounds for internal and collaborative projects through synthesis, method optimization, analytical identification, and purification.


B.S., Biology, Regis University, 1994–1998
B.S., Chemistry with Honors, Regis University, 1994–1998
Graduated summa cum laude

Professional Experience

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Research Scientist, 2007–present
Array Biopharma, Inc., Research Associate, 1998–2007

Research Interests

Courtney's research interests include:

  • NIR spectroscopy — increasing knowledge of spectral systems both in their modes of scanning and in the software packages to automate such processes.
  • Data management — exploring more efficient and sophisticated means of data acquisition, tracking, and mining for the large amount of spectral and wet chemical data handled by the group.
  • Chemometrics — using FT and dispersive NIR spectral data from feedstocks and process intermediates, paired with their compositional data, to build predictive mathematical models. These models help to reduce analysis time by predicting biomass compositional constituents from a quick nondestructive spectral scan.


Josey, J.A.; Tarlton, C.A.; Payne, C.E. (1998). "Novel Linker for the Solid-Phase Synthesis of Guanidines." Tetrahedron Letters (39); pp. 5899-5902.

NREL Laboratory Analytical Procedures for Standard Biomass Analysis

View the full suite of Laboratory Analytical Procedures (LAPs) for biomass.

Sluiter, A.D.; Hames, B.R.; Hyman, D.; Payne, C.; Ruiz, R.; Scarlata, C.J.; Sluiter, J.B.; Templeton, D.W. ; Wolfe, J. (2008). Determination of Total Solids in Biomass and Total Dissolved Solids in Liquid Process Samples: Laboratory Analytical Procedure (LAP). NREL/TP-510-42621. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Sluiter, A.D.; Hyman, D.; Payne, C.; Wolfe, J. (2008). Determination of Insoluble Solids of Pretreated Biomass Material: Laboratory Analytical Procedure (LAP). NREL/TP-510-42627. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Contact Information

Courtney Payne
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
15013 Denver West Parkway, MS 3323
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-6243