Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Method to Produce Highly Digestible, Pretreated Lignocellulosic Biomass Using Anhydrous Liquid Ammonia

Inventors: Shishir Chundawat, Leonardo Sousa, Albert Cheh, Venkatesh Balan, Bruce Dale

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Contact GLBRC About This Technology

Technology Marketing SummaryIn the continuing push to develop alternative fuels, bioethanol is clearly a viable option. However, if it is to become a truly economical alternative, a more effective and efficient method of processing lignocellulosic biomass must be developed.DescriptionMichigan State University has developed a novel lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment process that results in the formation of highly digestible cellulose III allomorph. The method also provides the option to simultaneously extract biologically inhibitory cell-wall extracts such as lignin, lignin decomposition products, xylo-oligosaccharides, and amides using essentially anhydrous liquid ammonia pretreatment (ALAP). This is important because cellulose crystallinity, lignin-carbohydrate complex (LCC) ester linkages, and non-specific enzymes binding to cell wall components (like lignin) are the major rate-limiting steps to efficient cell wall deconstruction. Non-crystalline cellulose (known as amorphous cellulose) has a four-to-five-times higher rate of enzymatic hydrolysis than native crystalline cellulose.Benefits
  • More readily digestible product: The ALAP process produces amorphous cellulose, which is considered a more highly digestible form of cellulose than native cellulose I.
  • Flexibility: Two streams are created by the process: one rich in cellulose and the other in hemicellulose-lignin. Each stream has the potential to be used to produce different products.
Applications and Industries
  • Cellulosic biofuels: The invention would be beneficial to companies focusing on novel lignocellulosic biofuel production processes.
  • Biomaterials: The resultant lignin fraction has potential to be used for the production of various biomaterials.
More Information

The Inventors

Intellectual Property Status
Patent pending.


This work was funded by the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (DOE BER Office of Science DE-FC02-07ER64494).

Published: Aug. 2011

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact GLBRC About This Technology

To: Thomas Herlache<>