Representative sampling in biomass studies - not so fast!

P. Thy, K.H. Esbensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


Proper execution of representative sampling and laboratory mass reduction procedures are critical for the validity and reliability of chemical analyses of highly heterogeneous biomass fuels. In the study reported by Thy et al., it was demonstrated that faulty sampling had resulted in apparent ash compositions that differed from the true compositions by factors of two to three for many major oxides. Analytical results based on non-representative samples may thus not be representative for the specific fuel and processes being studied. Despite the general acceptance that accurate and representative compositions is a critical prerequisite for understanding reactions and elemental fractionation, the biomass energy community appears largely to have ignored the critical issues surrounding representative primary sampling. This can have resulted in misleading or faulty conclusions and may have restricted reliable predictive modelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-10
Number of pages4
JournalTOS forum
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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