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Rachel Emerson

Research Scientist

Research Areas:
Bioenergy; Analytical Chemistry; Chemometrics; Biomass Characterization


Rachel Emerson is a research scientist for Idaho National Laboratory’s Biofuels and Renewable Energy Technologies Department. Her work supports the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office by developing physiological and chemical characterization techniques for lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks intended for both thermochemical and biochemical conversion processes. Primarily, her research has included developing rapid characterization models for analyzing the composition of raw and treated biomass feedstocks using a variety of multivariate spectroscopy techniques including near-infrared, mid-infrared, and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy. Emerson is also involved in developing microwave enhanced fast pyrolysis instrumentation for the purpose of rapidly screening and selection of feedstocks for thermochemical conversion industrial scale pyrolysis processes. Her work has also focused on looking at the effects of both environmental stresses and pretreatments on the composition and convertibility of biomass feedstocks. Her master’s degree research, from Idaho State University, involved developing an algorithm termed Local Adaptive Fusion Regression to improve the quality of spectroscopic multivariate predictive models.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Idaho where her research focused on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry drug analysis.

M.S., Chemistry - Idaho State University
B.S., Chemistry-Forensic Science - Univeristy of Idaho

Hoover, Amber N.; Emerson, Rachel M.; Williams, C. Luke; Ramirez-Corredores, Magdalena; Ray, Allison; Schaller, Kastli; Hernandez, Sergio; Li, Chenlin; Walton, Michelle. Grading Herbaceous Biomass for Biorefineries: a Case Study Based on Chemical Composition and Biochemical Conversion. BioEnergy Research. (2019).

Thompson, Vicki; Allison, Ray; Hoover, Amber; Emerson, Rachel; Harley, Damon; Lacey, Jeffrey; Yancey, Neal; Thompson, David. Special Issue: Assessment of municipal solid waste for valorization into biofuels. Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy. 2019;e13290.

Hoover, Amber N.; Emerson, Rachel M.; Hansen, Jason K.; Hartley, Damon; Ray, Allison E. Drought impacts on bioenergy supply system risk and biomass composition. In: Ondrasek, Gabrijel, editor. Drought (Aridity). Rijeka: InTech.

Emerson RM, Hernandez S, Williams CL, Lacey JA, Hartley DS. Improving bioenergy feedstock quality of high moisture short rotation woody crops using air classification. Biomass and Bioenergy 2018;117:56.
Williams CL, Emerson RM, Hernandez S, Klinger JL, Fillerup EP, Thomas BJ. Preprocessing and Hybrid Biochemical/Thermochemical Conversion of Short Rotation Woody Coppice for Biofuels. Front Energy Res 2018;6.

Klinger, J. L.; Westover, T. L.; Emerson, R. M.; Williams, C. L.; Hernandez, S.; Monson, G. D.; Ryan, J. C., Effect of biomass type, heating rate, and sample size on microwave-enhanced fast pyrolysis product yields and qualities. Applied Energy 2018, 228, 535-545.

Hoover, A.; Emerson, R.; Ray, A.; Stevens, D.; Morgan, S.; Cortez, M.; Kallenbach, R.; Sousek, M.; Farris, R.; Daubaras, D., Impact of Drought on Chemical Composition and Sugar Yields From Dilute-Acid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Miscanthus, a Tall Fescue Mixture, and Switchgrass. Front Energy Res 2018, 6 (54).


Groenewold, G.; Johnson, K.; Fox, S. C.; Rae, C.; Zarzana, C.; Kersten, B.; Rowe, S.; Westover, T.; Gresham, G.; Emerson, R.; Hoover, A., Pyrolysis Two-Dimensional GC/MS of Miscanthus Biomass: Quantitative Measurement using an Internal Standard Method. Energy and Fuels 2017, 31 (2), 1620-1630.


Williams, C. L.; Emerson, R.; Tumuluru, J. S., Biomass Compositional Analysis for Conversion to Renewable Fuels and Chemicals. In Biomass Volume Estimation and Valorization to Energy, Tumuluru, J. S., Ed. InTech: Rijeka, 2017.


Carpenter, D.; Westover, T.; Howe, D.; Deutch, S.; Starace, A.; Emerson, R.; Hernandez, S.; Santosa, D.; Lukins, C.; Kutnyakov, I., Catalytic hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis oils: Impact of biomass feedstock on process efficiency. Biomass and Bioenergy 2017, 96, 142-151.


Lacey, J. A.; Emerson, R. M.; Thompson, D. N.; Westover, T. L., Ash reduction strategies in corn stover facilitated by anatomical and size fractionation. Biomass and Bioenergy 2016, 90, 173-180.


Klinger, J.; Bar-Ziv, E.; Shonnard, D.; Westover, T.; Emerson, R., Predicting Properties of Gas and Solid Streams by Intrinsic Kinetics of Fast Pyrolysis of Wood. Energy & Fuels 2016, 30 (1), 318-325.


Westover, T. L.; Emerson, R. M., Rapid Analysis of Inorganic Species in Herbaceous Materials Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy. Industrial Biotechnology 2015, 11 (6), 322-330.


Williams, C. L.; Westover, T. L.; Emerson, R. M.; Tumuluru, J. S.; Li, C., Sources of Biomass Feedstock Variability and the Potential Impact on Biofuels Production. BioEnergy Research 2015, 1-14.


Emerson R, Hoover A, Ray A et al.: Drought effects on composition and yield for corn stover, mixed grasses, and Miscanthus as bioenergy feedstocks. Biofuels 5(3), 275-291 (2014).


Reza MT, Emerson R, Uddin MH, Gresham G, Coronella C: Ash reduction of corn stover by mild hydrothermal preprocessing. Biomass Conv. Bioref., 1-11 (2014).


Wendt L, Bonner I, Hoover A, Emerson R, Smith W: Influence of Airflow on Laboratory Storage of High Moisture Corn Stover. BioEnergy Research, 1-11 (2014).


Emerson, R.; Kalivas, J., “Rethinking Local Calibration using Local Adaptive Fusion Regression”. SciX 2016, Rethinking Calibration. Minneapolis, MN. September 21, 2016.


Emerson, R. “Regional Feedstock Partnership: DOE Bioenergy Feedstock Library”. Regional Feedstock Partnership Close-out Meeting. Washington, DC. July 14, 2016. 


Emerson, R.; Walker, V.; Hoover, A.; Cortez, M.; Kinoshita, R.; Gresham, G., “Quantifying Biomass Feedstock Variability Using the DOE Bioenergy Feedstock Library”. Advanaced Bioeconomy Feedstock Conference, Feedstocks for the Bioeconomy Panel Discussion. Miami, FL. June 8, 2016.


Emerson, R.; Walker, V.; Hoover, A.; Cortez, M.; Kinoshita, R.; Gresham, G., “Quantifying Biomass Feedstock Variability Using the DOE Bioenergy Feedstock Library”. 38th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Feedstocks (III) Track. Baltimore, MD. April 27, 2016.


Emerson, R.; Westover, T., “Rapid Screening Processes for Determining Important Quality Attributes in Biomass Using Spectroscopic Techniques.” TCBiomass 2015. Chicago, IL. November 2, 2015.


Emerson R, Westover T, Lacey J: Ash Composition Analysis of Anatomical and Particle Size Fractions for Corn Stover Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). In: SciX. Reno, NV 2014.


Stevens D, Emerson R, Westover T: Thermal Properties of Biofuel Feedstocks over a Wide Temperature Range. In: International Biomass Conference and Expo. Orlando, FL 2014.


Lacey J. Emerson R, Thompson D: Ash reduction strategies in corn stove using mechanical separations. In: 36th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals. Clearwater Beach, FL 2014.


Emerson R: Bulk Chemical Properties for Switchgrass and Big Bluestem for Autumn and Spring Harvests. In: U.S. Department of Energy Biomass 2011 Conference. Idaho National Laboratory Idaho Falls, ID 2011.


Emerson R, Gresham G: Physiochemcial Characterization of Feedstock Materials. In: The Second Annual U.S.-China Advanced Biofuels Forum. Idaho National Laboratory. Idaho Falls, ID 2011.

Research Interests:
Development of novel chemometric techniques for selecting spectral calibration samples for local modeling
Version: 19.0
Created at 6/9/2015 10:30 AM by Brendi M. Heath
Last modified at 11/26/2019 10:34 AM by