Achieving maximum sugar yield

Our Saccharification Equipment

Many Factors Impact Final Yield

Saccharification, the process to depolymerize cellulose and hemicellulose into fermentable sugars, is a considerable cost component in the biochemical conversion of biomass and feedstock to bioproducts.

In developing a high-yielding saccharification process, we take into consideration a combination of several factors:

  • Biomass composition
  • Type of pretreatment
  • Dosage and efficiency of the hydrolytic catalyst or enzymes
Microbe Produces Ethanol from Switchgrass Without Pretreatment. Read article on »

Integrating Upstream and Downstream Processes

Chemical pretreatment and saccharification are closely linked processes. While a particular pretreatment process might be effective against biomass recalcitrance, it may inhibit saccharification.

At ABPDU we place significant emphasis on the integration between pretreatment and saccharification to establish the optimum process parameters and selection of methodologies.

Our Equipment

Saccharification Process Options

Cocktail Optimization of Enzymes
As the severity factor of the pretreatment process decreases, the sugar yield after enzymatic hydrolysis also decreases. Hence the requirement for different types of enzymes and their higher dosages to achieve maximum sugar yield from cellulose and hemicellulose fractions of the pretreated biomass. We offer a cocktail of enzymes such as cellulases, hemicellulases, and other accessory enzymes for complete hydrolysis.
High Solids Enzymatic Hydrolysis
Maintaining high solids concentrations throughout the biomass conversion process is important for final product yield with reduced intensity of the separation process. High substrate concentration allows for the production of a concentrated sugar solution, which, in turn, is beneficial in separation processes after fermentation. The extent to which solids loading can be increased in hydrolysis varies with the type of feedstock, pretreatment process, and enzyme/catalyst. At the ABPDU, we are able to generate cellulosic sugars up to 150 g/L concentration.
Solid/Liquid Separation
After saccharification, lignin-rich solid is separated from the sugar-rich aqueous phase using a decanter or basket centrifuge depending on the scale of the process.
Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF)
During saccharification, the enzyme or catalyst can be constrained by the presence of some inhibitors generated during pretreatment. The fermentation process can be combined with saccharification in an SSF process, where enzymes are applied simultaneously with the micro-organism. In such cases, the enzymatic action is maximized due to the presence of low amounts of the inhibitory product, as the sugar is being metabolized upon release. SSF is thought to be an ideal process for biochemical conversion of biomass to bioproducts.
Mass/Energy Balance
A mass balance, also called a material balance, is a meticulous accounting of material entering and leaving a system. Mass balance is essential to establish a process as it is required to calculated the actual conversion of feedstock, monitor process flow, identify bottle-necks in processes, and model large scale process in desired reactors. Similarly, an energy balance can be established across a process by assuming that net energy loss from a reactor is zero.

Related Papers, Articles, and Presentations

Scale-Up and Evaluation of High Solids Ionic Liquid Pretreatment and Hydrolysis of Switchgrass

Scale-Up and Evaluation of High Solids Ionic Liquid Pretreatment and Hydrolysis of Switchgrass

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.

Properties of Biomass Pretreated with Ionic Liquid at 10L Scale

Properties of Biomass Pretreated with Ionic Liquid at 10L 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.

Scale up of Ionic Liquid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis

Scale up of Ionic Liquid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis

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.