skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Strengths, challenges, and opportunities for hydrothermal pretreatment in lignocellulosic biorefineries

Abstract

Pretreatment prior to or during biological conversion is required to achieve high sugar yields essential to economic production of fuels and chemicals from low cost, abundant lignocellulosic biomass. Aqueous thermochemical pretreatments achieve this performance objective from pretreatment coupled with subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis, but chemical pretreatment can also suffer from additional costs for exotic materials of construction, the need to recover or neutralize the chemicals, introduction of compounds that inhibit downstream operations, and waste disposal, as well as for the chemicals themselves. The simplicity of hydrothermal pretreatment with just hot water offers the potential to greatly improve the cost of the entire conversion process if sugar degradation during pretreatment, production of un-fermentable oligomers, and the amount of expensive enzymes needed to obtain satisfactory yields from hydrothermally pretreated solids can be reduced. Biorefinery economics would also benefit if value could be generated from lignin and other components that are currently fated to be burned for power. However, achieving these goals will no doubt require development of advanced hydrothermal pretreatment configurations. For example, passing water through a stationary bed of lignocellulosic biomass in a flowthrough configuration achieves very high yields of hemicellulose sugars, removes more than 75% of the lignin for potential valorization,more » and improves sugar release from the pretreated solids with lower enzyme loadings. Unfortunately, the large quantities of water needed to achieve this performance result in very dilute sugars, high energy costs for pretreatment and product recover, and large amounts of oligomers. Furthermore, improving our understanding of hydrothermal pretreatment fundamentals is needed to gain insights into R&D opportunities to improve performance, and help identify novel configurations that lower capital and operating costs and achieve higher yields.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Washington State Univ., Richland, WA (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Riverside, CA (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1405277
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1399060
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5100-70374
Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; EE0006112; PS02-06ER64304
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 12; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; water; hydrothermal pretreatment; sugars; lignin

Citation Formats

Yang, Bin, Tao, Ling, and Wyman, Charles E. Strengths, challenges, and opportunities for hydrothermal pretreatment in lignocellulosic biorefineries. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/bbb.1825.
Yang, Bin, Tao, Ling, & Wyman, Charles E. Strengths, challenges, and opportunities for hydrothermal pretreatment in lignocellulosic biorefineries. United States. doi:10.1002/bbb.1825.
Yang, Bin, Tao, Ling, and Wyman, Charles E. Wed . "Strengths, challenges, and opportunities for hydrothermal pretreatment in lignocellulosic biorefineries". United States. doi:10.1002/bbb.1825.
@article{osti_1405277,
title = {Strengths, challenges, and opportunities for hydrothermal pretreatment in lignocellulosic biorefineries},
author = {Yang, Bin and Tao, Ling and Wyman, Charles E.},
abstractNote = {Pretreatment prior to or during biological conversion is required to achieve high sugar yields essential to economic production of fuels and chemicals from low cost, abundant lignocellulosic biomass. Aqueous thermochemical pretreatments achieve this performance objective from pretreatment coupled with subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis, but chemical pretreatment can also suffer from additional costs for exotic materials of construction, the need to recover or neutralize the chemicals, introduction of compounds that inhibit downstream operations, and waste disposal, as well as for the chemicals themselves. The simplicity of hydrothermal pretreatment with just hot water offers the potential to greatly improve the cost of the entire conversion process if sugar degradation during pretreatment, production of un-fermentable oligomers, and the amount of expensive enzymes needed to obtain satisfactory yields from hydrothermally pretreated solids can be reduced. Biorefinery economics would also benefit if value could be generated from lignin and other components that are currently fated to be burned for power. However, achieving these goals will no doubt require development of advanced hydrothermal pretreatment configurations. For example, passing water through a stationary bed of lignocellulosic biomass in a flowthrough configuration achieves very high yields of hemicellulose sugars, removes more than 75% of the lignin for potential valorization, and improves sugar release from the pretreated solids with lower enzyme loadings. Unfortunately, the large quantities of water needed to achieve this performance result in very dilute sugars, high energy costs for pretreatment and product recover, and large amounts of oligomers. Furthermore, improving our understanding of hydrothermal pretreatment fundamentals is needed to gain insights into R&D opportunities to improve performance, and help identify novel configurations that lower capital and operating costs and achieve higher yields.},
doi = {10.1002/bbb.1825},
journal = {Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining},
number = 1,
volume = 12,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Oct 11 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed Oct 11 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on October 11, 2018
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share: