The First Step to Higher Yield
Pretreatment is widely classified as the second most expensive unit cost in the conversion of biomass to bio-products. The goal of the pretreatment process is to breakdown lignin and increase the accessibility of the pre-treated biomass to saccharification.
At ABPDU, we take a holistic approach to all unit operations, starting with pretreatment. Our focus is on final yield and product cost. We monitor important factors like the loss of biomass to degradation products and inhibitors generated during the pretreatment process that could reduce fermentation or chemical conversion yields.
Getting the most value
We know that no single pretreatment technology offers 100% conversion of carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. In developing an optimum pretreatment process, we place importance on the following:
- The most effective pretreatment catalyst for a given feedstock
- The compatibility of the feedstock-pretreatment catalyst combination
- The possibility of generating co-products, primarily from lignin
- Opex and capex investments
- Energy requirements for solid-liquid handling, separation, etc.
- Co-product value and residue disposal costs at scale
An Optimum Pretreatment Process
Biomass and feedstock diversity, high biomass loading, product and chemical recovery, and process integration for scale up compound the challenges of obtaining the highest yielding pretreatment process.
Our many advantages help us to design the best process for your specifications:
- A broad range of aqueous phase thermochemical pretreatment processes that are suitable for the widest range of biomass and feedstock
- The ability to combine two or more pretreatment processes to achieve the best results across downstream unit operations.
- Careful analysis of the factors that will achieve the best process economics
- Meticulous assessment of the feasibility of integrating with downstream technologies and deploying the technology at a commercial scale.
Pretreatment Process Options
Mechanical Biomass Size Reduction
Related Papers, Articles, and Presentations
Ionic liquid pretreatment is receiving significant attention as a potential process that enables fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass and produces high yields of fermentable sugars suitable for the production of renewable fuels. However, successful optimization and scale up of ionic liquid pretreatment involves challenges, such as high solids loading, biomass handling and transfer, washing of pretreated solids and formation of inhibitors, which are not addressed during the development stages at the small scale in a laboratory environment. As a first in the research community, the Joint BioEnergy Institute, in collaboration with the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit, a Department of Energy funded facility that supports academic and industrial entities in scaling their novel biofuels enabling technologies, have performed benchmark studies to identify key challenges associated with ionic liquid pretreatment using 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate and subsequent enzymatic saccharification beyond bench scale.
Ionic liquid (IL) pretreatment has proven to be an effective method of biomass depolymerization for biofuel production. Understanding the physical and chemical properties of IL pretreated biomass at scale up level is essential to obtain better insights into challenges that may occur in large scale biorefineries. Building on the milliliter scale optimization, JBEI, in collaboration with Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) is taking the first step to demonstrate IL pretreatment and subsequent saccharification at high solid loadings and liter scales (10 L), with a variety of feedstocks. Here, we provide the results of our studies aimed at understanding mass balances, residual ionic liquid inhibition of enzymes, and rheological properties of IL pretreated solids recovered from 10L scale.
To access the sugars in lignocellulosic biomass, pretreatment is an essential step to deconstruct the recalcitrant plant cell wall structures and facilitate enzymatic hydrolysis of recovered cellulose. Ionic liquid (IL) pretreatment is gaining substantial attention as a potential pretreatment process that can efficiently fractionate biomass and provide clean sugar substrate for the production of ethanol and other advanced biofuels. Previous work at Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has demonstrated at milliliter scales that IL can dissolve significant amounts of several feedstocks and produce highly digestible polysaccharides. However, a key factor in the development of economically viable lignocellulosic biofuels is to establish novel pretreatment technologies coupled with saccharification by advanced enzyme systems at process relevant scales.