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Home » BioChemicals/Renewable Chemicals, Process, R & D Focus

Lignocellulosic Biomass Deconstruction

Submitted by on April 13, 2017 – 10:42 amNo Comment

Bernard Cooker (Chemical Processing Solutions/Lee Enterprises Consulting/Biofuels Digest)  Cheap, plentiful lignocellulosic biomass (LCB), consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, is deconstructed to release useful chemical intermediates in the bioeconomy. These include glucose from cellulose, glucose and other sugars from hemicellulose, and oxygenated benzene derivatives (OBTX) from lignin. Reviewed here are recent published developments of note in LCB deconstruction, emphasizing process simplicity, efficiency, and prospective economics.

Lignin is tough and resilient, giving structural rigidity. See refs. 1, 2. These same properties cause processing challenges in deconstructing the biomass to sugar and OBTX, efficiently, at high yield and low cost.

LCB requires more intense deconstruction to obtain the intermediates.

The following hierarchy of LCB deconstruction means is proposed, from most favored to less favored: 1. Particle size reduction. 2. Shear. 3. Concentration. 4. Temperature. 5. Pressure. 6. Solvents. 7. Regenerable catalysts. 8. Reactants, reagents, consumed enzymes, pH modifiers and the like.

Recent LCB Deconstruction Developments of Note

Thermal, with Adjunct Mechanical Forces

Tetrahydrofuran (THF) Solvent, with Adjunct Mechanical Forces

Mechanical Forces: Orifice Flow, Continuous Auger Processing

Lignin from LCB Deconstruction


The bioeconomy chemical producers need efficient, scalable, low cost LCB deconstruction processes to yield renewable sugar and OBTX chemical intermediates. Deconstruction of plentiful, cheap LCBs from agriculture, forest products, pulp and paper and MSW receives much needed attention. Current methods are dominated by thermochemical conversion and enzymic saccharification. The hierarchy of LCB deconstruction promoters suggested here, from most to least favored, based on anticipated process simplicity and cost is: 1. Particle size reduction. 2. Shear. 3. Concentration. 4. Temperature. 5. Pressure. 6. Solvents. 7. Regenerable catalysts. 8. Reactants, reagents, enzymes, pH modifiers. Recent developments of note in relation to these processing factors have been reviewed.  READ MORE

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