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Edward J. Wolfrum, Ph.D.

Photo of Edward J. Wolfrum

I am a Senior Researcher and Manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Bioenergy Center in Golden, Colorado. I have experience in the technical management of research projects for both governmental and private clients, including financial management, training and supervision of research staff, subcontract monitoring, and general laboratory management.

I currently lead the Biomass Compositional Analysis section, a team of more than a dozen researchers and technicians providing analytical chemistry support to both internal and external clients. Our section is best known for our publicly available Laboratory Analytical Procedures (LAPS), which provide detailed methods for the summative analysis of biomass materials. Learn more about NREL Laboratory Analytical Procedures.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on developing rapid analysis techniques for the chemical characterization of biomass and using multivariate analysis techniques for the exploratory data analysis (EDA) of large multivariate data sets. I'm currently working on a number of interesting projects:

  • Developing rapid compositional analysis methods for pretreated corn stover slurries and liquors using NIR spectroscopy
  • Investigating biomass sorghum as a cellulosic ethanol feedstock, including the development of a rapid calibration equation for sorghum (with the National Sorghum Checkoff Program and Texas A&M University)
  • Developing rapid compositional analysis methods for miscanthus using NIR spectroscopy (with Idaho National Laboratory)
  • Researching the effect of reduced production inputs on the composition and bioconversion of cool-season perennial grasses (with Colorado State University)
  • Developing rapid compositional analysis methods for lipids in algae.

Previous research projects focused on measuring and understanding the behavior of very low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air. I led work to develop a low-cost, real-time VOC sensor for indoor environmental monitoring using chemometric techniques to extract concentration information from multivariate sensor array data. I also performed chemometric analyses of ambient air sampling data collected at NREL to develop "chemical fingerprints" of indoor environments. For this work I led the design of a microcontroller-based automated ambient air sampler.


Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University (1993)
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1987)

Professional Experience

Senior Researcher & Manager, 2006–present
Senior Research Chemical Engineer I/II, 1997–2006
Staff Research Chemical Engineer, 1994–1997
Postdoctoral Researcher, 1993–1994

Selected Scientific Publications

I am the author or co-author of more than 20 peer-reviewed scientific papers, including these most recent ones:

Selected Lectures & Posters

I am the author or co-author of more than 30 oral and poster presentations, including these most recent ones:

  • Wolfrum, E. "Biomass Compositional Analysis." NSF/PIRE Summer School: Heterogeneous Catalysis For Biomass Conversion, Seeon, Germany, August 2010 (Invited Lecture).
  • Scarlata, C.J.; Vicari, K.J.; Lopez, A.; Saetia, K.; Koh, K.J.; Beckham, G.T.; Sluiter, J.; Sievers, D.A.; Wolfrum, E.J.; Schell, D.J. "Minimizing the Contribution of Sampling Uncertainty to Fraction Insoluble Solids Measurements during Lignocellulosic Biomass Processing." 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Clearwater Beach, FL, April 2010 (Poster).
  • Vicari, K.J.; Scarlata, C.J.; Tallam, S.S.; Shatova, T.; Koh, K.J.; Beckham, G.T.; Schell, D.J.; Wolfrum, E.J. "Yield Uncertainty for the Primary Unit Operations in the Biochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass from Uncertainty in Feedstock Composition and Process Variables." 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Clearwater Beach, FL, April 2010 (Poster).
  • Sluiter, J.B.; Templeton, D.W.; Scarlata, C.J.; Wolfrum, E.J. "Biomass Pretreatment Liquor Composition Method Variability." 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Clearwater Beach, FL, April 2010 (Poster).
  • Wolfrum, E.; Sluiter, A. "Biomass Characterization Using NIR Spectroscopy: Introduction to NREL Methods, and Correlation of NDF/ADF with Compositional Data." Joint Annual Conference of the NIRS Forage and Feed Testing Consortium (NIRSC), the Feed Analysis Consortium (FeedAC), and the National Forage Testing Association (NFTA), February 2008 (Invited Lecture).


  • Scahill, J.; Blake, D.M.; Wolfrum, E.; Anselmo, M., International Patent WO 02083307 "Photocatalytic Air Purifier" (24 October 2002).

Contact Information

Edward J. Wolfrum, Ph.D.
Senior Researcher/Manager
15013 Denver West Parkway, MS 3322
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-7705
Cell: 303-809-7228