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Research Interests

Daniel J. Schell is manager of the BioProcess Integration R&D section of the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and currently leads a multidisciplinary team of engineers and pilot plant technicians. Schell has more than 30 years of research experience in bio-based conversion of lignocellulosic biomass and has extensive expertise in integrated biomass conversion operations at the bench and pilot scale. He also manages numerous projects for industrial clients investigating various aspects of lignocellulosic biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals. His research interests include:

  • Integrated biomass processing

  • High solids biomass conversion

  • Fermentation process development

  • Separation processes

  • Techno-economic analysis

  • Measurement uncertainty

  • Pilot plant operation and process scale up


  • M.S., Engineering and Technology Management, Colorado School of Mines

  • M.S., Chemical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

  • B.S., Engineering Physics, Colorado School of Mines

Professional Experience

  • Manager, NREL, 2013present

  • Senior Research Supervisor, NREL, 2005–2013

  • Senior Biochemical Engineer, NREL, 19972005

  • Staff Engineer, NREL, 19881997

  • Associate Scientist, Solar Energy Research Institute, 19801988

Featured Publications

  1. "Characterization of pilot-scale dilute acid pretreatment performance using deacetylated corn stover," Biotechnol. Biofuels (2014)

  2. "Performance and techno-economic assessment of several solidliquid separation technologies for processing dilute-acid pretreated corn stover," Bioresour. Technol. (2014)

  3. "Conversion of residual organics in corn stover-derived biorefinery stream to bioenergy via a microbial fuel cell," Env. Sci. Technol. (2013)

  4. "Degradation of carbohydrates during dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment can interfere with lignin measurements in solid residues," J. of Agricul. Food Chem. (2013)

  5. "Membrane extraction for detoxification of biomass hydrolysates," Bioresour. Technol. (2012)

  6. "Conditioning of dilute-acid pretreated corn stover hydrolysate liquors by treatment with lime or ammonium hydroxide to improve conversion of sugars to ethanol," Bioresour. Technol. (2011)

  7. "Impact of corn stover composition on hemicellulose conversion during dilute acid pretreatment and enzymatic cellulose digestibility of the pretreated solids," Bioresour. Technol. (2010)

  8. "An economic comparison of different fermentation configurations to convert corn stover to ethanol using Z. mobilis and Saccharomyces," Biotechnol. Progress (2010)

  9. "Detoxification of biomass hydrolysates by reactive membrane extraction," J. Membrane Science (2010)

  10. "Impact of recycling stillage on conversion of dilute sulfuric acid pretreated corn stover to ethanol," Biotechnol. Bioeng. (2010)

  11. "Economic Impact of Total Solids Loading on Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Dilute-Acid Pretreated Corn Stover," Biotechnol. Progress (2010)

  12. "Modeling sucrose hydrolysis in dilute sulfuric acid solutions at pretreatment conditions for lignocellulosic biomass," Bioresour. Technol. (2008)

  13. "Soluble and insoluble solids contribution to high-solids enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose," Bioresour. Technol. (2008)

  14. "Membrane extraction for removal of acetic acid from biomass hydrolysates," J. Membrane Science (2008)

  15. "Porosity and its effect on the digestibility of dilute sulfuric acid pretreated corn stover," J. Agric. Food Chem. (2007)

  16. "Contaminant occurrence, identification and control in a pilot-scale corn fiber to ethanol conversion process," Bioresour. Technol. (2007)

  17. "Chapter 6: Lignocellulosic Feedstock Biorefinery: History and Plant Development for Biomass Hydrolysis," in Biorefineries — Industrial Processes and Production: Status Quo and Future Direction (2006)

  18. "A Bioethanol Process Development Unit: Initial Operating Experiences and Results with a Corn Fiber Feedstock," Bioresour. Technology (2004)

  19. "Dilute-Sulfuric Acid Pretreatment of Corn Stover in Pilot-Scale Reactor: Investigation of Yields, Kinetics, and Enzymatic Digestibilities of Solids," App. Biochem. Biotechnol. (2003)

  20. "Carbon Mass Balance Evaluation of Cellulase Production on Soluble and Insoluble Substrates," Biotechnol. Prog. (2002)

  21. "Influence of Operating Conditions and Vessel Size on Oxygen Transfer During Cellulase Production," App. Biochem. Biotechnol. (2001)

  22. "Review of Pilot Plant Programs for Bioethanol Conversion," Handbook on Bioethanol: Production and Utilization (1996)

  23. "Ethanol From Lignocellulosic Biomass," Advances in Solar Energy (1992)

  24. "A Technical and Economic Analysis of Acid-Catalyzed Steam Explosion and Dilute Sulfuric Acid Pretreatments Using Wheat Straw or Aspen Wood Chips," App. Biochem. and Biotechnol. (1991)

View all NREL Publications for Daniel J. Schell.