A multi-function process for hydrolysis and fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass to separate hemicellulosic sugars from other biomass components comprising extractives and proteins; a portion of a solubilized lignin; cellulose; glucose derived from cellulose; and insoluble lignin from said biomass comprising: a) introducing either solid fresh biomass or partially fractioned lignocellulosic biomass material with entrained acid or water into a reactor and heating to a temperature of up to about 185.degree. C.-205.degree. C. b) allowing the reaction to proceed to a point where about 60% of the hemicellulose has been hydrolyzed in the case of water or complete dissolution in case of acid; c) adding a dilute acid liquid at a pH below about 5 at a temperature of up to about 205.degree. C. for a period ranging from about 5 to about 10 minutes; to hydrolyze the remaining 40% of hemicellulose if water is used. d) quenching the reaction at a temperature of up to about 140.degree. C. to quench all degradation and hydrolysis reactions; and e) introducing into said reaction chamber and simultaneously removing from said reaction chamber, a volumetric flow rate of dilute acid at a temperature of up to about 140.degree. C. to wash out the majority of the solubilized biomass components, to obtain improved hemicellosic sugar yields.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention under contract No. DE-AC36-98GO10337 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the Midwest Research Institute.