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Hydrolysis and fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass

United States Patent

6,022,419
February 8, 2000
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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Pretreatment Methods for Biomass Conversion into Biofuels and Biopolymers
A multi-function process is described for the hydrolysis and fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass to separate hemicellulosic sugars from other biomass components such as extractives and proteins; a portion of the solubilized lignin; cellulose; glucose derived from cellulose; and insoluble lignin from said biomass comprising one or more of the following: optionally, as function 1, introducing a dilute acid of pH 1.0-5.0 into a continual shrinking bed reactor containing a lignocellulosic biomass material at a temperature of about 94 to about 160.degree. C. for a period of about 10 to about 120 minutes at a volumetric flow rate of about 1 to about 5 reactor volumes to effect solubilization of extractives, lignin, and protein by keeping the solid to liquid ratio constant throughout the solubilization process; as function 2, introducing a dilute acid of pH 1.0-5.0, either as virgin acid or an acidic stream from another function, into a continual shrinking bed reactor containing either fresh biomass or the partially fractionated lignocellulosic biomass material from function 1 at a temperature of about 94-220.degree. C. for a period of about 10 to about 60 minutes at a volumetric flow rate of about 1 to about 5 reactor volumes to effect solubilization of hemicellulosic sugars, semisoluble sugars and other compounds, and amorphous glucans by keeping the solid to liquid ratio constant throughout the solubilization process; as function 3, optionally, introducing a dilute acid of pH 1.0-5.0 either as virgin acid or an acidic stream from another function, into a continual shrinking bed reactor containing the partially fractionated lignocellulosic biomass material from function 2 at a temperature of about 180-280.degree. C. for a period of about 10 to about 60 minutes at a volumetric flow rate of 1 to about 5 reactor volumes to effect solubilization of cellulosic sugars by keeping the solid to liquid ratio constant throughout the solubilization process; and as function 4, optionally, introducing a dilute acid of pH 1.0-5.0 either as virgin acid or an acidic stream from another function, into a continual shrinking bed reactor containing the partially fractionated lignocellulosic biomass material from function 3 at a temperature of about 180-280.degree. C. for a period of about 10 to about 60 minutes at a volumetric flow rate of about 1 to about 5 reactor volumes to effect solubilization of cellulosic sugars by keeping the solid to liquid ratio constant throughout the solubilization process.
Torget; Robert W. (Littleton, CO), Padukone; Nandan (Denver, CO), Hatzis; Christos (Denver, CO), Wyman; Charles E. (Lakewood, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
08/ 723,399
September 30, 1996
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention under contract No. DE-AC36-83CH10093 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the Midwest Research Institute.