- Biomass pretreatment
- Biofuel production
- Fermentation of sugars from biomass for other industries
- Enables “one-pot” processing without extensive washing or special enzymes
- Enables reuse of ionic liquids
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to overcome the pH mismatch between pretreatment and downstream unit operations with cholinium-based ionic liquids that use commercially available enzyme mixtures and fermentation hosts. The pH of the system can be reversibly controlled through the addition of carbon dioxide (CO2). As a result, extensive rinsing of the pretreated biomass and/or post-treatment are not required, generating substantial savings in both energy and water consumption. This “one-pot” biomass conversion process is a significant advance in the field of ionic liquids.
The novel use of CO2 as a pH buffer rather than traditional acid in this type of configuration eliminates the need for a traditional multi-step process. After the pH is adjusted from basic to slightly acidic, enzymes and microbes are added directly to the solution to produce advanced biofuels or renewable chemicals. The products can then be recovered through distillation. The resultant liquid and solid phases are separated, the CO2 is released and recovered and the pH of the system and the biocompatible ionic liquid are now ready for the next round of biomass conversion.
STATUS: Published PCT application PCT/US2015/000320 (publication WO/2016/105538). Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sun, J., Murthy Konda, N., Shi, J., Parthasarathi, R., Dutta, T., Xu, F., Scown, C., Simmons, B., Singh, S. CO2 enabled process integration for the production of cellulosic ethanol using bionic liquids. Energy and Environmental Science. DOI: 10.1039/c6ee00913a (2016).
Yang, S. Scientists Harness CO2 to Consolidate Biofuel Production Process. Berkeley Lab News Center, July 21, 2016.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: JBEI researchers demonstrated that 85% glucose and 65% xylose (monomers and oligomers) could be liberated from switchgrass using this technology with commercial enzymes in a one-pot pretreatment / saccharification process in the presence of ionic liquid. Moreover, biofuel yields of 90% have been achieved using a wild-type yeast strain with no observed in the presence of the biocompatible cholium-based ionic liquid.
REFERENCE NUMBER: 2014-139