Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Bioenergy Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364245

Research Project: Technologies for Improving Process Efficiencies in Biomass Refineries

Location: Bioenergy Research

Title: Sugar production from bioenergy sorghum by using pilot scale continuous hydrothermal pretreatment combined with disk refining

item CHEN, MING-HSUN - University Of Illinois
item Dien, Bruce
item LEE, D.K. - University Of Illinois
item SINGH, VIJAY - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Bioresource Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2019
Publication Date: 6/18/2019
Citation: Chen, M.H., Dien, B.S., Lee, D.K., Singh, V. 2019. Sugar production from bioenergy sorghum by using pilot scale continuous hydrothermal pretreatment combined with disk refining. Bioresource Technology. 289:121663.

Interpretive Summary: This study demonstrates the conversion of cellulosic biomass to sugars at a pilot scale using a continuous flow reactor. The results are notable for several reasons. The same reactor used here is manufactured in a larger version for commercial use and is already used to process corn fiber by a corn ethanol manufacturer.Second, the amounts of glucose and xylose recovered were 82% and 71% of the maximum possible, which are within the range of most economic designs used to model cellulosic ethanol production. Third, when biomass is pretreated, inhibitory chemicals are often measured, which make fermentation infeasible. This process produced very little of these chemicals. Fourth, the feedstock used here was field grown biomass sorghum, which is a promising candidate as a bioenergy crop. This study will be of interest to all existing ethanol manufacturers, agriculture processors in general, and forward looking farmers because it helps to de-risk processing of a cellulosic feedstock to sugars for subsequent fermentation.

Technical Abstract: Pretreatment is critical for sugar production from cellulosic feedstocks. Chemical free pretreatments are attracting increased interest because they generate less inhibitors in hydrolysates. In this study, pilot-scaled continuous hydrothermal (PCH) pretreatment followed by disk refining was evaluated. Bioenergy sorghum bagasse (BSB) was pretreated at 160°C to 190°C for 10 minutes with and without subsequent disk milling. Hydrothermal pretreatment and disk milling synergistically improved glucose and xylose release by 10% to 20% compared to hydrothermal pretreatment alone. Maximum yields of glucose and xylose of 82.55% and 70.78%, respectively were achieved, when BSB was pretreated at 190°C and 180°C followed by disk milling. Pilot-scaled hydrothermal pretreatment was compared to laboratory-scale batch hot water (LHW) pretreatment. LHW pretreated BSB had 5 to 15% higher sugar yields compared to PCH for all pretreatment conditions. The surface area improvement was also performed. PCH pretreatment combined with disk milling increased BSB surface area by 31.80 to 106.93%, which was greater than observed using LHW pretreatment.