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USE OF ASH IN LIGNOCELLULOSIC BIOMASS PROCESSING

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247174D
Publication Date: 2016-Aug-11

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method or process of producing fermentation products from lignocellulosic biomass materials. Specifically the method or process provides the use of a whole ash of lignocellulosic biomass materials at various stages of biomass processing, thereby reducing total process costs, improving process effectiveness and efficiency, as well as reducing the amounts of potential pollutants being released into the surrounding environments of commercial cellulosic biorefineries.

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USE OF ASH IN LIGNOCELLULOSIC BIOMASS PROCESSING

ABSTRACT

Disclosed is a method or process of producing fermentation products from lignocellulosic biomass materials. Specifically the method or process provides the use of a whole ash of lignocellulosic biomass materials at various stages of biomass processing, thereby reducing total process costs, improving process effectiveness and efficiency, as well as reducing the amounts of potential pollutants being released into the surrounding environments of commercial cellulosic biorefineries.

SUMMARY

Described is an improved and lower-cost industrial process for producing useful, fermentation products from a lignocellulosic biomass material. Provided are methods or processes for producing fermentable sugars or fermentation products from lignocellulosic biomass substrate with reduced process costs and/or increased yield of desirable products. The disclosed processes involve the use of ash made from lignocellulosic biomass materials, preferably process waste materials, in various parts of the industrial process, for example, as a caustic alkaline agent, useful for conferring pH control, replacing the traditional alkaline base such as sodium hydroxide; as a fermentation aid, substantially improving the stability and functionalities of the ethanologen microorganisms and/or other biocatalysts, thereby also the fermentation efficacy and efficiency; or as a supplement to enhance enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass materials. The improved processes reuse otherwise waste substances thereby substantially reducing waste which may be of large volume given the enormous scales of commercial cellulosic processing plants. The improved process as such can be incorporated as part of a more sustainable and cost effective cellulosic biorefinery practice because it allows more complete utilization of the feedstock.

In a first aspect, the disclosure pertains to a method or process for using a lignocellulosic biomass ash as a caustic agent useful for pH control in a lignocellulosic biomass conversion process. For example, the lignocellulosic biomass ash can be suitably used to replace conventional caustic agents (e.g., alkalis) for adjusting pH levels of the pretreatment, during saccharification reaction, during fermentation, or during the anaerobic digestion step of the post-saccharification insoluble.

In some embodiments, a lignocellulosic biomass ash can be used to replace at least about 20% (e.g., at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, at least about 35%, at least about 40%, at least about 45%, at least about 50%, at least about 55%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about


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80%, or at least about 90% or even all) of the alkalis necessary to adjust pH during the pretreatment step. In certain embodiments, the use of lignocellulosic biomass ash during the pretreatment step is followed by a washing step to remove the lignocellulosic biomass ash tha...