Lignin-first biomass fractionation using a hybrid organosolv – Steam explosion pretreatment technology improves the saccharification and fermentability of spruce biomass
Journal article, 2019
For a transition to a sustainable society, fuels, chemicals, and materials should be produced from renewable resources. Lignocellulosic biomass constitutes an abundant and renewable feedstock; however, its successful application in a biorefinery requires efficient fractionation into its components; cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Here, we demonstrate that a newly established hybrid organosolv – steam explosion pretreatment can effectively fractionate spruce biomass to yield pretreated solids with high cellulose (72% w/w) and low lignin (delignification up to 79.4% w/w) content. The cellulose-rich pretreated solids present high saccharification yields (up to 61% w/w) making them ideal for subsequent bioconversion processes. Moreover, under high-gravity conditions (22% w/w) we obtained an ethanol titer of 61.7 g/L, the highest so far reported for spruce biomass. Finally, the obtained high-purity lignin is suitable for various advanced applications. In conclusion, hybrid organosolv pretreatment could offer a closed-loop biorefinery while simultaneously adding value to all biomass components.
High gravity fermentation