APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Lignocellulosic biofuel production
- Biomass pretreatment
- Sugar production
- Materials and processes using recovered lignin
- Nitrogenous fertilizers
- Construction materials
- Pulping catalyst in the Kraft process for the paper industry
- Enhances lignin extraction and carbohydrate hydrolysis
- Reduces energy requirements and processing temperatures
- Shortens process time
- Decreases cost impact of ionic liquid on the pretreatment process by reducing the amount of ionic liquid needed and reducing recycling cost
Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a pretreatment technology that enhances production of monomeric sugars from the enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. In the JBEI technology, reactor systems are pressurized to induce phase changes that mitigate the need for precipitants to recover biomass. As a result, ionic liquid recycling costs are reduced, and a more purified lignin stream can be converted into value added products. The approach uses readily available components that will enable rapid adoption in the biofuels and other industries.
Achieving pressurized conditions in the biomass / ionic liquid mixture enhances the selective fractionation and recovery of biomass into cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The use of pressure also enables the use of co-solvents, such as water, and precipitants at atmospheric pressure, to reduce the ionic liquid loading and facilitate precipitation after the pretreatment steps.
The researchers found that using pressure at lower temperatures is equivalent to ambient pressure pretreatment at 120ºC. The approach also reduced the required ionic liquid loading, which allows for a higher biomass loading in the system, while simultaneously reducing the amount of ionic liquid needed for effective pretreatment.
The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, www.jbei.org) 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 using laboratory-scale commercial reactors at the 2L scale.
STATUS: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
REFERENCE NUMBER: EIO-2842
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
Recovery of Sugars by Solvent Extraction, EJIB-2750