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Aqueous fractionation of biomass based on novel carbohydrate hydrolysis kinetics

United States Patent

May 8, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Visit the NREL Technology Transfer Website
Pretreatment Methods for Biomass Conversion into Biofuels and Biopolymers
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 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 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 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 C. to wash out the majority of the solubilized biomass components, to obtain improved hemicellosic sugar yields.
Torget; Robert W. (Littleton, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
09/ 292,770
April 14, 1999
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.