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Danny Carpenter

Supervisor - Thermochemical Process R&D | 303-384-6709

Research Interests

  • Impact of feedstocks on thermochemical conversion performance (pyrolysis, catalytic pyrolysis, gasification), especially related to blending low-cost, sustainable feedstocks into the biofuels supply chain

  • Design, instrumentation, method development, and automation of laboratory and process analytical systems for thermochemical and catalytic experimental reactor systems

Affiliated Research Programs

  • Feedstocks (PI)

  • Biomass Characterization

  • Process Design, Modeling, and Economics

  • Thermochemical Process Integration, Scale-up, and Piloting

  • Heterogeneous Catalysis for Thermochemical Conversion

  • Computational Modeling

Areas of Expertise

  • Molecular-beam mass spectrometry for the analysis of pyrolysis and gasifier tars/vapors and trace inorganics

  • Modification of scientific instruments for high-temperature experimental chemical analysis (mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, thermal gravimetric analysis, residual gas analysis, nondispersive infrared, vacuum systems, and laser systems)

  • Design, construction, and automation of heated process interface, sampling, and quantitative analysis of gasifier tars


  • M.S., Physics, University of Nevada at Reno, 1998

  • B.S., Physics, University of Nevada at Reno, 1995

Professional Experience

  • Staff Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, 1999–present

  • Project Lead, Thermochemical Feedstock Interface Project, intra-laboratory collaboration in the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office thermochemical conversion platform, 2012present

  • Project Lead, Integrated Biorefinery Projects, ARRA-funded projects for the in-field process monitoring of biomass-to-fuels demonstration units, 20102014

Featured Publications

  1. "Biomass Feedstocks for Renewable Fuel Production: A Review of the Impacts of Feedstock and Pretreatment on the Yield and Product Distribution of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-Oils and Vapors," Green Chemistry (2014)

  2. "Field-to-Fuel Performance Testing of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks: An Integrated Study of the Fast Pyrolysis-Hydrotreating Pathway," Energy & Fuels (2014)

Graph showing simulated distillation curves for hydrocarbon fuels produced from several biomass feedstocks. The x-axis is labeled "Distillation temperature (in degrees Celsius)" and the y-axis is labeled "mass percent recovered."Overlapping ranges for gasoline, jet, and diesel are in various shades of orange. The curve for corn stover shows that it produced a lighter hydrocarbon product, while the tulip poplar and hybrid poplar produced heavier fractions. Pine, switchgrass, and blended feedstocks fall in between the corn stove and poplars.

Additional Publications

  1. "Comparison of Oak and Switchgrass Bio-Oil in the Vapor and Condensed Phases: Analysis by py-MBMS and 2D-GC," Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis (forthcoming)

  2. "Effect of Torrefaction Temperature on Oak, Pine and Switchgrass Composition, Torrefaction Products and Pyrolysis Products," Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis (forthcoming 2015)

  3. "Evaluating the Effect of Potassium on Cellulose Pyrolysis Reaction Kinetics," Biomass and Bioenergy (2015)

  4. "Speciation of Sulfur in Biochar Produced from Pyrolysis and Gasification of Oak and Corn Stover," Environmental Science and Technology (2014)

  5. "Technoeconomic Analysis for the Production of Mixed Alcohols via Indirect Gasification of Biomass Based on Demonstration Experiments," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2014)

  6. "Pilot-Scale Gasification of Corn Stover, Switchgrass, Wheat Straw, and Wood: 1. Parametric Study and Comparison with Literature," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2010)

  7. "Demonstration and Characterization of Ni/Mg/K/AD90 Used for Pilot-Scale Conditioning of Biomass-Derived Syngas," Catalysis Letters (2010)

  8. "Pilot-Scale Gasification of Corn Stover, Switchgrass, Wheat Straw, and Wood: 2. Identification of Global Chemistry Using Multivariate Curve Resolution Techniques," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2009)

  9. "Review of Mid -to High-Temperature Sulfur Sorbents for Application to Desulfurizing Biomass- and Coal-Derived Syngas," Energy & Fuels (2009)

  10. "Quantitative Measurement of Biomass Gasifier Tars Using a Transportable Molecular-Beam Mass Spectrometer: Comparison with Traditional Impinger Sampling," Energy & Fuels (2007)

  11. "Evaluation of Catalyst Deactivation during Catalytic Steam Reforming of Biomass-Derived Syngas," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2005)

  12. Catalytic Steam Reforming of Gasifier Tars: On-line Monitoring of Tars with a Transportable Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometer, NREL Technical Report (2002)

  13. MBMS Monitoring of Battelle Turbine Tests, NREL Technical Report (2000)

View all NREL Publications Daniel Carpenter.