Pretreatment of Biomass for Improved Sugar Yield

Inventors
Zhenglun Li Namita Bansal David Hodge Eric Hegg, Vaidyanathan Mathrubootham, Aditya Bhalla, Alexander Toulokhonov
Overview

Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have developed a new pretreatment technology for lignocellulosic biomass that results in increased sugar yields at a reduced cost and increased speed, and generates a separate lignin stream. This larger, faster, and cheaper yield in sugar directly correlates to improved fuel and chemical conversion processing.

The Invention

MSU inventors have found a way to improve the pretreatment process that releases sugars from plant material; these sugars are then converted into fuel. Compared to other techniques, pretreatment with our patent-pending process results in increased sugar yields that can be produced more quickly and at a reduced cost. Additionally, a separate lignin stream is generated, which can then be valorized. Under relatively mild alkaline conditions and in the presence of a suitable oxidant, a metal-ligand complex catalyzes the delignification of biomass, significantly improving the digestibility of the sugars.

Key Benefits
  • Increased sugar yield - biomass produces increased fermentable sugars (glucose, xylose)
  • Reduced pretreatment cost - less chemicals and enzymes needed for pretreatment
  • Faster pretreatment process - pretreatment time is shorter with use of a catalyst
  • Separate lignin stream – lignin is suitable for valorization 
Applications
  • Biofuels
  • Biomass Power
  • Wood and Pulp
Technology Contact

Bradley Shaw, Technology Manager, Michigan State University, shawbr@msu.edu