The present invention is directed to a process for biologically converting carbohydrates from lignocellulosic biomass comprising the steps of: suspending lignocellulosic biomass in a flow-through reactor, passing a reaction solution into the reactor, wherein the solution is absorbed into the biomass substrate and at least a portion of the solution migrates through said biomass substrate to a liquid reservoir, recirculating the reaction solution in the liquid reservoir at least once to be absorbed into and migrate through the biomass substrate again. The biological converting of the may involve hydrolyzing cellulose, hemicellulose, or a combination thereof to form oligosaccharides, monomelic sugars, or a combination thereof; fermenting oligosaccharides, monomelic sugars, or a combination thereof to produce ethanol, or a combination thereof. The process can further comprise removing the reaction solution and processing the solution to separate the ethanol produced from non-fermented solids.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This invention was funded, in part, by the United States government under a grant with the Department of Energy, Award # DE-FC36-07GO17057. The U.S. government has certain rights in this invention.