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Recovery of Sugars by Solvent Extraction

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryResearchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to extract 5C and 6C sugars directly at two points in an ionic liquid biomass pretreatment process and deliver a concentrated solution of fermentable sugars. The process minimizes toxic byproducts and facilitates ionic liquid reuse. DescriptionThe JBEI invention uses solvent extraction technology, which is based on the chemical affinity of boronates to complex sugars. Solvent extraction technology has been shown to successfully remove glucose and other sugars from aqueous solutions in the paper pulping industry. JBEI researchers have optimized this proven technology for the recovery of sugars from biomass pretreatment processes utilizing ionic liquid pretreatment techniques.

The invention has been tested to successfully to extract glucose, xylose and cellobiose from 1) 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C2Mim][OAc]) aqueous mixtures, 2) enzymatic hydrolysates from [C2Mim][OAc] pretreated cornstover, and 3) 100% [C2Mim][OAc] solutions. The researchers have achieved 80% sugar recovery and expect to significantly improve this percentage with further development. The technology will work with other selected ionic liquids.

Ionic liquid pretreatment has been proven to enhance the breakdown of cellulose into monomeric sugars, either enzymatically or through chemical catalysis. However, recovery of water soluble sugars from the ionic liquid phase has been a problem for researchers developing ionic liquid pretreatment technologies. This JBEI technology accomplishes high sugar recovery and enables ionic liquid recycling needed to make the process cost competitive .
  • High sugar recovery in pure ionic liquid systems and ionic liquid-water mixtures
  • Achieves over 80% sugar recovery in the first pass of a batch process
  • Recovery of 5 and 6 carbon sugars and oligomers (e.g. cellobiose)
  • Fast processing time—approximately 3 hours
  • Reduces pretreatment costs
  • Facilitates ionic liquid recovery and recycling
Applications and Industries
  • Biomass pretreatment for biofuels production
  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Food science and processing
  • Chemical catalysis and processing
More InformationThe Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels. Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
EJIB-2750Prototype - Proven principle. JBEI researchers are continuing to simplify the process and are investigating consolidated chemical catalysis extraction.Available - Available for licensing or collaborative research. Patent Pending06/13/201006/24/2010

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To: Shanshan Li<>