The invention relates to the prehydrolysis of lignocellulose by passing an acidic or alkaline solution through solid lignocellulosic particles with removal of soluble components as they are formed. The technique permits a less severe combination of pH, temperature and time than conventional prehydrolysis. Furthermore, greater extraction of both hemicellulose and lignin occurs simultaneously in the same reactor and under the same conditions.
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE ACO2-83CH10093 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the Midwest Research Institute.