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Research Interests

  • Biomass analysis—developing improved and higher throughput methods for analysis of biomass feedstocks

  • Agronomics—using NIR spectroscopy, compositional and agronomic data to aid clients in the determination of more suitable feedstocks and growing conditions for further research and development

  • NIR spectroscopy—increasing knowledge of spectral systems both in their modes of scanning and in the software packages used 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

  • Chemometrics—using FT and dispersive NIR spectral data from feedstocks and process intermediates, paired with their compositional data, to build predictive mathematical models.

Areas of Expertise

Courtney E. Payne manages biomass compositional analysis projects through method development, data management, and QAQC. She is highly proficient at performing the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suite of Laboratory Analytical Procedures (LAPs) and contributes to both in-house and external client training. She has also developed improved and high-throughput methods associated with these LAPs. Payne is skilled in near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy using both dispersive and Fourier-Transform (FT) instrumentation. She develops partial least squares and principal component analysis models based on NIR spectroscopy and biomass compositional constituents. She also developed and manages the Biomass Analysis Technology student internship program. Before joining NREL, Payne 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. Her areas of expertise include:

  • Analytical chemistry

  • Biomass compositional analysis

  • NIR spectroscopy

  • Data management

  • Chemometrics


  • B.S., Biology, Regis University, 1998

  • B.S., Chemistry with Honors, Regis University, 1998 (graduated summa cum laude)

Professional Experience

  • Research Scientist, NREL, 2007–present

  • Research Associate, Array Biopharma, Inc., 1998–2007

Featured Publications

  1. "Rapid Analysis of Composition and Reactivity in Cellulosic Biomass Feedstocks with Near-Infrared Spectroscopy," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2015)

  2. "Drought effects on composition and yield for corn stover, mixed grasses, and miscanthus as bioenergy feedstocks," Biofuels (2014)

  3. Multivariate Calibration Models for Sorghum Composition Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, NREL Technical Report (2013)

View all NREL Publications for Courtney E. Payne.