Skip to main content
Photo of Edward J. Wolfrum

Edward Wolfrum

Principal Researcher & Manager | 303-384-7705
Orcid ID

Research Interests

The Process and Analytical Engineering Groupmore than 30 scientists, engineers, technicians, and postdoctoral researchersprovides chemical process modeling and analytical chemistry support to both internal and external clients and develops new chemical process models and analytical methods for biomass analysis. Edward J. Wolfrum's responsibilities include hiring, career development, project staffing, and ensuring compliance with all environmental safety and health requirements.

The Biomass Compositional Analysis section is best known for our publicly-available Laboratory Analytical Procedures (LAPs), which provide detailed methods for the summative analysis of biomass materials. The Process Analysis Section is best known for our techno-economic analysis work.

Wolfrum's research interests focus on developing rapid analysis techniques for the chemical characterization of biomass and using multivariate analysis techniques for the exploratory data analysis of large multivariate data sets. Wolfrum is currently working on developing rapid compositional analysis methods for biomass feedstocks and pretreated materials using near-infrared spectroscopy.

Wolfrum's previous research projects focused on measuring and understanding the behavior of very low concentrations of volatile organic compounds in air. Wolfrum led work to develop a low-cost, real-time volatile organic compound sensor for indoor environmental monitoring using chemometric techniques to extract concentration information from multivariate sensor array data. Wolfrum also performed chemometric analyses of ambient air sampling data collected at NREL to develop "chemical fingerprints" of indoor environments. For this work Wolfrum led the design of a microcontroller-based automated ambient air sampler. Another project used multivariate statistics to develop a novel device to non-invasively measure hydrogen gas in concentrating solar power receiver tubes.


  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University, 1993

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1987

Professional Experience

  • Principal Researcher and Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), 2014–present

  • Senior Researcher and Manager, NREL, 20062014

  • Senior Research Chemical Engineer I/II, NREL, 19972006

  • Staff Research Chemical Engineer, NREL, 19941997

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, NREL, 19931994


  1. "Photocatalytic air purifier," U.S. Patent Application No. 20040007453 (2002)

Featured Publications

  1. "Rapid analysis of composition and reactivity in cellulosic biomass feedstocks with near-infrared spectroscopy," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2015)

  2. "Laboratory-Scale Pretreatment and Hydrolysis Assay for Determination of Reactivity in Cellulosic Biomass Feedstocks," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2013)

  3. "High-Throughput Quantitative Biochemical Characterization of Algal Biomass by NIR Spectroscopy; Multiple Linear Regression and Multivariate Linear Regression Analysis," J. Agric. Food Chem. (2013)

  4. "Near Infrared Calibration Models for Pretreated Corn Stover Slurry Solids, Isolated and In situ," J. Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (2013)

  5. "Uncertainty in Techno-Economic Estimates of Cellulosic Ethanol Production due to Experimental Measurement Uncertainty," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2012)

  6. "Rapid Compositional Analysis of Microalgae by NIR Spectroscopy," NIR News (2012)

  7. "Variation in Biomass Composition Components among Forage, Biomass, Sorghum-Sudangrass, and Sweet Sorghum Types," Crop Science (2012)

  8. "Accurate and Reliable Quantification of Total Microalgal Fuel Potential as Fatty Acid Methyl Esters by in situ Transesterification," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2012)

  9. "Feasibility of Spectroscopic Characterization of Algal Lipids: Chemometric Correlation of NIR and FTIR Spectra with Exogenous Lipids in Algal Biomass," BioEnergy Research (2010)

  10. "Compositional Analysis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks 2: Method Uncertainties," Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2010)

  11. "Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Selected U.S. Ethanol Production and Use Pathways in 2022," Environmental Science and Technology (2010)

  12. "Improved Multivariate Calibration Models for Corn Stover Feedstock and Dilute-Acid Pretreated Corn Stover," Cellulose (2009)

  13. "Characterization, Genetic Variation, and Combining Ability of Maize Traits Relevant to the Production of Cellulosic Ethanol," Crop Science (2009)

  14. "Calibration Transfer Among Metal Oxide Sensor Arrays Designed for Monitoring Volatile Organic Compounds in Indoor Air Quality," IEEE Sensors Journal (2006)

  15. "Metal Oxide Sensor Arrays for the Detection, Differentiation, and Quantification of Volatile Organic Compounds at sub-Parts-Per-Million Concentration Levels," Sensors & Actuators B: Chemical (2006)

Featured Lectures & Posters

  1. "The effect of feedstock densification on structural sugar release and yield in and biofuel feedstock and feedstock blends," 37th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2015)

  2. "Analytical variability of biomass solids compositional analysis" (poster), 37th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2015)

  3. "Towards a Common Language in Measurement Technologies in Algae," 34th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2012)

  4. "Long-Term Variability in Bagasse Compositional Analysis," 34th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2012)

  5. "Near Infrared Spectroscopy Applications in Biofuels Characterization," SciX2012 Conference (2012)

  6. "Low-Cost Sensor Arrays for Measuring Volatile Organic Compounds in Air" (poster), DOE Sensors Workshop (2012)

  7. "The Test and Prediction of Argon-Hydrogen and Xenon-Hydrogen Heat Conduction in Parabolic Trough Receivers," Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES) (2011)

  8. "Biomass compositional analysis of feedstock materials," 33rd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2011)

  9. "Using NIR/PLS for the rapid analysis of acid pretreated slurries" (poster), 33rd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2011)

  10. "Biomass Compositional Analysis" (invited lecture), NSF/PIRE Summer School: Heterogeneous Catalysis For Biomass Conversion (2010)

  11. "Minimizing the Contribution of Sampling Uncertainty to Fraction Insoluble Solids Measurements during Lignocellulosic Biomass Processing," 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2010)

  12. "Yield Uncertainty for the Primary Unit Operations in the Biochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass from Uncertainty in Feedstock Composition and Process Variables" (poster), 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2010)

  13. "Biomass Pretreatment Liquor Composition Method Variability" (poster), 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2010)

  14. "Biomass Characterization Using NIR Spectroscopy: Introduction to NREL Methods, and Correlation of NDF/ADF with Compositional Data" (invited lecture), Joint Annual Conference of the NIRS Forage and Feed Testing Consortium, the Feed Analysis Consortium, and the National Forage Testing Association (2008)

View all NREL Publications for Ed Wolfrum.