Measuring Biomass with a Field Spectroradiometer

Measuring biomass is important for a number of different applications, including the conversion of biomass to fuel or chemicals, using biomass measurements to monitor the health of farmlands and grasslands, assessing the ecological health of a site, analyzing rangeland condition, measuring hydrologic properties (such as runoff and erosion), predicting the risk of wildfires, and forecasting forage availability for cattle.

UV/VIS/NIR spectroradiometers from SPECTRAL EVOLUTION deliver faster, more accurate, and more flexible ways to measure biomass than traditional estimations or wet chemistry. NIR spectroscopy brings the following benefits to your research:

  • Fast collection of data in minutes
  • Minimal or no sample preparation
  • Precision, accuracy, and a wealth of information—especially if the spectra are combined with chemometrics software
  • Non-destructive measurement
  • Affordable measurement technology
  • In situ measurement with rugged, portable, field spectroradiometers

Once collected and analyzed, spectra provide critical information for applications, including:

  • Grassland/rangeland management– farmers need biomass information during early growth stages to regulate the use of fertilizer for the best results
  • Biomass spectra can help farmers to predict yield at harvest using non-destructive field measurements
  • Biomass analysis is key for continued forest health and selective harvesting of old growth and promotion of new growth
  • Floodplains are another area where rapid determination of biomass measurements are crucial, with vegetation providing resistance to floodplain discharge
  • Rapid determination of biomass properties can help characterization of carbohydrates, lignin, moisture, protein, and more
  • Suitability of biomass (such as corn stover slurries, and sorghum) as fuel, including analysis of ethanol production capacity, potential heating value, atmospheric greenhouse gas implications, and total carbon footprint
  • Ecological status assessment, hydrologic properties of an area, or potential support for grazing livestock, can also be determined from biomass analysis

With a full range spectroradiometer, such as SPECTRAL EVOLUTION’s PSR+, SR-6500, NaturaSpec™, RS-8800 or RS-3500, a scientist can measure organic functional groups either in the lab or in situ, in the 350-2500nm range and using chemometric analysis software, such as GRAMS or Camo Analytics Unscrambler, translate the spectra into chemical, compositional data for analysis. This combination of spectroradiometer and analysis software provides rapid analysis, significant savings in time and money, an in-depth level of information, and is applicable to a wide variety of biomass materials.