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Biomass holds tremendous potential as a renewable feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. However, significant technological advancement is required before production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals will become widespread and economically self-sustaining at the industrial scale. Many of the greatest challenges surrounding biomass conversion stem from the complex nature of the feedstock. Biomass consists of the remains of once-living plant tissue, and therefore retains many of the characteristics of the original organism. These characteristics, such as microstructure, biopolymer composition, and mineral content, are species-specific and can vary substantially between feedstock types. Furthermore, the commoditization of biomass feedstocks will...

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