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Solvent fractionation of renewable woody feedstocks: Organosolv generation of biorefinery process streams for the production of biobased chemicals

Bozell, Joseph J., Black, Stuart K., Myers, Michele, Cahill, Deborah, Miller, W. Paul, Park, Sunkyu
Biomass and bioenergy 2011 v.35 no.10 pp. 4197-4208
arabinose, biorefining, cellulose, ethanol, feedstocks, fractionation, galactose, hemicellulose, ion exchange chromatography, lignin, raw materials
A new organosolv biomass fractionation process (Clean Fractionation, CF) for the separation of lignocellulosic raw material into cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin has been developed. The lignocellulosic material is separated with a ternary mixture of methyl isobutyl ketone, ethanol and water in the presence of an acid promoter, which selectively dissolves lignin and hemicellulose, leaving cellulose as an undissolved solid. The resulting single phase liquor is treated with water giving an organic phase containing lignin and an aqueous phase containing hemicellulose. For woody feedstocks, the yield of the cellulose fraction across all separations averaged 47.7 wt% (±1.1). Representative separations gave cellulose fractions with average Klason lignin contents of 2.0% at acid concentrations of 0.1 M H₂SO₄ or greater. Little or no galactose, mannose or arabinose is observed in the cellulose, and at an acid concentration of 0.2 M, average xylose contents as low as 0.22% were observed. Average glucan contents for representative cellulose samples of 92.7% were observed, and rose as high as 98.2% for separations using 0.2 M H₂SO₄. Glucan contents as high as 97% were also observed if the cellulose was bleached using either a QPD or QPDE sequence. The average yield of the lignin fraction was 18.3 wt%. Representative lignin samples gave an average Klason lignin value of 91% with selected lignin samples exhibiting residual sugar levels of <0.5%. The aqueous hemicellulose fraction contains a higher level of non-sugar components, but can be purified by ion exchange chromatography.