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Acid Hydrolysis of Biomass and Increased Sugar Recovery by Solvent Extraction




Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to preferentially produce and extract sugars produced by the direct acid hydrolysis of biomass from an aqueous solution of ionic liquids such as 1-ethyl-3-methylimidaolium chloride. JBEI researchers have extracted over 80% of hexose and pentose sugars, indicating that the JBEI approach is a significant improvement in the field of biomass saccharification using ionic liquid.

The JBEI invention uses solvent extraction technology, which is based on the chemical affinity of boronates or other organic acids to complex sugars, to extract sugars from the aqueous phase. Solvent extraction technology has been shown to successfully remove sugars from aqueous solutions in the paper pulping industry. JBEI researchers have optimized this proven technology for the recovery of sugars from biomass pretreatment processes utilizing ionic liquid pretreatment techniques also developed at JBEI. In this particular case, compared to EJIB-2750,, a low pH aqueous solution was not needed to strip the sugars from the organic phase.

Chemical hydrolysis of biomass in ionic liquid has been known to rapidly accelerate the hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicellulose into their component sugars. However, the process has been hampered by the need to separate the water soluble sugars from the ionic liquid. In the past, proposed solutions to this problem, such as affinity chromatography, were not found to be scalable and/or cost-effective. The JBEI technology overcomes these earlier limitations.

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE:  We have demonstrated this process at the laboratory scale and are in the process of scaling it up to the 10L reactor scale.

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.



Recovery of Sugars by Solvent Extraction, EJIB-2750




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Last updated: 06/17/2011