APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
Production of sugars from lignocellulosic biomass
- Enables cost-effective recovery of solvents used for efficient lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment
The use of protic ionic salts, such as ionic liquids (ILs) and deep eutectic solvents (DESs), as biomass pretreatment solvents is one of the most effective methods for producing high yields of fermentable sugars for bioenergy production. However, ILs need to be recycled at a high rate for the IL/DES-based processes to be commercially viable.
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed an integrated biomass pretreatment approach that combines effective pretreatment using lower-cost IL with simple and energy efficient recovery and recycling.
The invention primarily hinges on using protic ionic liquids (PILs) and/or DESs that have been demonstrated to be effective for biomass pretreatment, are relatively cheap due to their ease of synthesis, and can be readily recycled with little energy input. Researchers integrated a vacuum distillation for the salt recovery/recycling into the pretreatment process, creating the most favorable process configuration for maximizing IL recovery and pretreatment effectiveness, leading to high yields of sugar and lignin. The revised pretreatment and IL recovery/recycle process was integrated with enzymatic hydrolyses and fermentation in a one-pot approach. Preliminary results show that the PIL—[Eth][OAc] can be recovered at a rate of [~85-98]%, depending on the solids loading of the biomass, to produce ~75% glucose and ~55% xylose yields.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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