Saccharification

Achieving maximum sugar yield.

Saccharification — the process of converting cellulose and hemicellulose into fermentable sugars — is a considerable cost in the biomass to bioproducts pipeline.

We take the following factors into consideration:

  • Biomass composition
  • Type of pretreatment
  • Dosage and efficiency of the hydrolytic catalyst or enzymes

We integrate pretreatment and saccharification to establish the optimum process parameters and selection of methodologies.

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.