APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Biorefineries – all feedstock types
- Thermochemical pretreatment research
- Broad process compatibility
- High solids mixing
- Improvement of both upstream pretreatment and downstream fermentation process yields
- Reduction of environmental and safety hazards
- Reduction of inhibitor production and biomass loss
- Capable of processing 30 tons/day of biomass for up to 60M gallons ethanol/year
Berkeley Lab scientists have invented a single-stirred pressure reactor to perform multiple thermochemical pretreatments and enzymatic hydrolysis of all types of feedstock, single or mixed, at high solid loadings to produce and separate liquor with high concentration of monomeric sugars or intermediates and low concentration of inhibitory compounds. The reactor vessel can be configured for different mixing mechanisms, rapid heat up or cool down ramps, and pressure handling capability.
Facilitated by the improved mass and heat transfer in this design, the kinetics, concentrations, and yields of biomass conversion will be more easily controlled and optimized at a higher level. Meanwhile, inhibitor production and biomass loss will be reduced due to better mass and heat transfer. The reactor will enable evaluation of scalability issues associated with novel and established small-scale thermochemical or enzymatic treatments not possible with other reactors.
Biomass is one of the most sustainable sources for generation of renewable liquid fuels. In order to convert lignocellulosic biomass to liquid fuels, thermochemical (homogenous and heterogeneous) and biological (enzymatic) treatments are needed to separate and depolymerize the insoluble polymers. However, established reactor designs for several thermochemical technologies do not offer a single system to accommodate multiple technologies and feedstocks. In addition, most reactor designs do not include mixing, essential for enzymatic hydrolysis. The Berkeley Lab biorefinery reactor solves these problems.
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
REFERENCE NUMBER: 2013-047