Analytical Chemistry

Define, Improve, and Verify Your Innovation

Effective Scale-Up

Analytical chemistry delivers the information to define, improve, and verify technology innovation and enables robust process development. At ABPDU, we engage in continuous process improvement to enable the successful scaling of each unit operation as well as the integrated process.

Robust Validation

Knowing the critical importance of accurate data for process validation and improvement, at ABPDU we have exacting standards for data collection and analysis.  Among other things, we use extensive analytics to:

  • Understand the interaction between various feedstocks and deconstruction methodologies
  • Identify fermentation inhibitors
  • Obtain detailed recovery data for techno-economic modeling

Precise Quantification

Analytical chemistry is highly dependent on reproducible, robust, and reliable methods that provide precise quantification of the physio-chemical characteristics of a sample. Every project has challenges in sample handling, method selection, and process validation that are unique to that project.
Whenever possible we use protocols and techniques widely recognized by industry, but have the flexibility to adapt these protocols and develop methods customized to each project. Use of validation characteristics, such as accuracy, linearity, and precision ensures that the data provided is of the highest quality.

Our Equipment

Analytical Chemistry Options

Biomass Composition
We perform quantitative analyses of moisture, lignin, ash, glucan, and xylan in various biomass feedstocks per standard protocols. Through HPLC, we also measure sugar and degradation product concentrations in biomass hydrolysates.
Material Physical Properties
We use rheology and energy density methodologies to understand the physio and chemical properties of starting materials to support operational planning and process design from scale up to commercialization.
Protein Characterization
We carry out qualitative and quantitative analyses of proteins and enzymes. Our analysis capabilities include SDS-PAGE, protein content, and microplate activity assays.

Related Papers & Publications


Scale-Up and Process Integration of Municipal Solid Waste Conversion Process

This paper presents two case studies on the scale-up and process integration of municipal solid waste conversion technology. In a partnership with Idaho National Labs, we successfully demonstrated 200-fold scale up of MSW blends IL acidolysis. We also developed an integrated process for ionic liquid based deconstruction technologies for MSW blends conversion. The scale up attempt will leverage the opportunity towards a cost-effective MSW blends conversion technology.

Under a DOE Work-For-Others agreement with FATER, ABPDU has been developing and validating an integrated waste-to-energy process. Key outcomes indicate that post-consumer absorbent hygiene products (AHPs) can be readily and economically converted — without using harsh or expensive pretreatment routes — to sugars and fuel intermediates.

Evaluation of Storage Effect on the Biomass Conversion to Sugars

Dry matter loss (DML) occurs in high-moisture storage conditions; it remains unclear how storage conditions and degradation impact sugar release and fermentation inhibitor production during conversion. In collaboration with Idaho National Labs, two feedstocks, switchgrass and corn stover, were compared using compositional analysis, alkaline pretreatment, and enzymatic saccharification. Under the tested conditions, switchgrass with 10% and 20% DML and corn stover with 30% DML achieved higher sugar yields compared to samples before storage.

Predictive Modeling and Rheological Estimation of Mixed Biomass Feedstocks

In a collaborative effort with INL, SNL, and JBEI, predictive modeling was used to evaluate and optimize traditional pretreatment methods for biomass mixture compositions to maximize sugar yield and minimize furfural production. The collaboration encompassed compositional analysis of feedstocks, solids loading during pretreatment for mixed feedstock, enzymatic hydrolysis on unwashed solids, and sugar and furfural analysis. Predictive modeling could effectively identify the pretreatment catalyst and treatment conditions for an “optimal” biomass mixture and the optimal biomass mixture for a particular pretreatment system.


Process Scale-up of Municipal Solid Waste and Corn Stover Blends Conversion into Sugars

A collaboration between ABPDU, INL, and SNL as to whether blends of municipal solid waste (MSW) and corn stover (CS) could meet cost and quality targets yielded valuable results. The team successfully developed an integrated process for ionic liquid (IL) based deconstruction technologies. They also demonstrated a 200-fold scale up MSW/CS blends IL acidolysis. The scale up attempt and process integration will leverage the opportunity towards a cost-effective sugar/lignin production technology.

Determining the Impact of MSW as a Feedstock Blending Agent on Pretreatment Efficacy

Sixteen MSW blends provided by INL were screened using the 10mL tube reactor to identify the most promising blend (CS/MSW 4:1) for scaling up test based on the sugar yields as well as the feedstock cost. The collaboration also successfully demonstrated 600-fold (10mL to 6L) scale up of MSW/CS blends IL acidolysis.

Process Development of Three Novel High Value Fermentation Products

Lygos developed a biological process for malonic acid production and provided ABPDU with fermentation parameters optimized at the bench scale. At the 300-L scale, we used LabVIEW VI to control external pumps and regulate the progress of fermentation. The successful scale-up of this fermentation pathway demonstrated the ability in replacing traditional petroleum-based malonic acid production process, which requires hazardous cyanide and chloroacetic acid.

FATER ABPDU Waste-to-Bioenergy Process Partnership

ABPDU has been developing and validating an integrated waste-to-energy process under a DOE work-for-others (WFO) agreement with FATER, an Italian JV between Procter & Gamble and the Angelini Industrial Group.

Key outcomes indicate that post-consumer absorbent hygiene products (AHP) can be readily and economically converted — without using harsh or expensive pretreatment routes — to fermentable sugar intermediates as well as biofuel and bio-based chemical products.

Predictive Modeling Can De-Risk Bio-based Production

Technologies developed for bio-based production are based on single feedstock types. While this approach is applicable for corn stover in the MidWest, for states such as California, with abundant but diverse feedstocks, technologies should be developed to accommodate multiple feedstock input to a single biorefinery. This project established the influence of mixing feedstocks on downstream sugar recovery and thereby fuel production for Imperial County as a case study. To de-risk bio-based production, we relied on statistical approaches and developed a predictive model to identify optimal biomass concentrations and reaction types, temperatures, and times to maximize sugar yield and minimize furfural production.