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Title: Investigation of a submerged membrane reactor for continuous biomass hydrolysis

Enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose is one of the most costly steps in the bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass. Use of a submerged membrane reactor has been investigated for continuous enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose thus allowing for greater use of the enzyme compared to a batch process. Moreover, the submerged 0.65 μm polyethersulfone microfiltration membrane avoids the need to pump a cellulose slurry through an external loop. Permeate containing glucose is withdrawn at pressures slightly below atmospheric pressure. The membrane rejects cellulose particles and cellulase enzyme bound to cellulose. Our proof-of-concept experiments have been conducted using a modified, commercially available membrane filtration cell under low fluxes around 75 L/(m2 h). The operating flux is determined by the rate of glucose production. Maximizing the rate of glucose production involves optimizing mixing, reactor holding time, and the time the feed is held in the reactor prior to commencement of membrane filtration and continuous operation. When we maximize glucose production rates it will require that we operate it at low glucose concentration in order to minimize the adverse effects of product inhibition. Consequently practical submerged membrane systems will require a combined sugar concentration step in order to concentrate the product sugar stream prior to fermentation.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0960-3085
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Food and Bioproducts Processing; Journal Volume: 96; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: Food and Bioproducts Processing
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Biorefinery; cellulase enzyme; cellulose; microfiltration; ultrafiltration; product inhibition