Available Technology

Acid Hydrolysis of Biomass and Increased Sugar Recovery by Solvent Extraction EJIB-3030

Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to preferentially produce and extract sugars produced by the direct acid hydrolysis of biomass from an aqueous solution of ionic liquids such as 1-ethyl-3-methylimidaolium chloride. JBEI researchers have extracted over 80% of hexose and pentose sugars, indicating that the JBEI approach is a significant improvement in the field of biomass saccharification using ionic liquid. The JBEI invention uses solvent extraction technology, which is based on the chemical affinity of boronates or other organic acids to complex sugars, to extract sugars from the aqueous phase. Solvent extraction technology has been shown to successfully remove 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 also developed at JBEI. In this particular case, compared to EJIB-2750, http://www.lbl.gov/Tech-Transfer/techs//lbnl2750/, a low pH aqueous solution was not needed to strip the sugars from the organic phase. Chemical hydrolysis of biomass in ionic liquid has been known to rapidly accelerate the hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicellulose into their component sugars. However, the process has been hampered by the need to separate the water soluble sugars from the ionic liquid. In the past, proposed solutions to this problem, such as affinity chromatography, were not found to be scalable and/or cost-effective. The JBEI technology overcomes these earlier limitations. The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, www.jbei.org) 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.
Benefits: 
Selective production and extraction of sugars - Over 80% yield of C6 and C5 sugars - Eliminates the need for high cost cellulase and hemicellulase enzymes to liberate monomeric sugars from biomass - Facilitates ionic liquid recycling to reduce process costs
applications: 
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
: EJIB-3030
Patent Status: 
Published US Patent Application US20120301948 available at uspto.gov. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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