Combined Ultrasonic and Enzyme treatment of Lignocellulosic Feedstock as Substrate for Sugar Based Biotechnological Applications
US4GREENCHEM aims to design a biorefinery concept for the complete valorization of lignocellulosic biomass that is energy- and cost- efficient and based solely on green technologies. The concept combines mechanical pretreatment of the substrate with the aid of ultrasound to overcome its recalcitrance and disrupt inhibitors with mild CO2 hemicellulose degradation and with the enzymatic recovery of sugars and technologies for the valorization of the byproducts released in the process.
Specifically the projects aim to:
Develop ultrasound (US) pretreatment that effectively disrupts the lignocellulosic matrix with reduced energy input and minimal production of inhibitory byproducts.
Further degrade lignocellulose with CO2 technologies to maximize release of sugars as main target products of the process. Once CO2 dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid which catalyses the hydrolysis of hemicellulose in mild conditions. Unlike the use of classical acids, the carbonic acid can be simply removed from the system by releasing pressure.
Develop purification and conversion strategies for lignin-based products, in order to maximize the material valorization of the biomass components, as High- grade lignin has the potential to become the main renewable source of aromatics for the chemical industry.
Valorize the solid residues of the product for energy
Optimize the yield and reduce the cost of enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose fibers through the development of new enzymatic cocktails with improved thermal stability and reduced sensitivity to product inhibition, and the possibility to use enzymes at high solid loadings and recycle them
Test for fermentability of the sugar fraction
Propose effective integration and upscaling to strategies for pilot scale through the experienced industrial partners involved in the project
Perform a thorough analysis of the outcomes of the proposed combination of technologies to evaluate the potential economic and environmental impacts and compare the proposed concept to existing technologies on the market and technologies being currently developed.