Biorefining of lignocellulosic biomass


  Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant organic materials in natural world. The main components of this biomass are cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Production of energy and chemicals from lignocellulose is one of the most promising pathway to replace the conventional refinery of fossil oil. However, the compact and rigid structure of biomass necessitates a pretreatment process to increase the enzymatic digestibility of cellulose.

  For integrated utilization of lignocellulose, the research topics of our institute include:

  * Pretreatment technology development with organosolv delignification and corresponding principles;

  * Enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose and mechanisms;

  * Kinetics and mechanisms of organosolv delignification;

  * Characterization and utilization of lignin products.

  (1) Organosolv pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass

  Biorefinery platform for integrated production of pulp, ethanol and lignin products was developed. The pulp showed good strength properties for paper-making and enzymatic digestibility for ethanol production by Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF).

  More organosolv pretreatment technologies were further developed in our institute, such as the Formiline process that was based on formic acid delignification and Acetoline process that was based on acetic acid delignification. Compared with dilute acid pretreatment both processes could obtain higher enzymatic conversionof glycans and ethanol concentration.

  (2) Mechanisms of pretreatment and cellulose hydrolysis

  Our institute also studies the mechanisms of organosolv pretreatment via chemical, physical and morphological analysis of the treated solid.

  (3) Characterization and utilization of lignin products

  Lignin products are characterized for chemical structure and physical properties in order to exploit its utilizations.