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HIGH SOLIDS LOADING AQUEOUS SLURRY FORMATION OFCORN STOVER BEFORE PRETREATMENT IN A FED-BATCH BIOREACTOR

thesis
posted on 2024-04-17, 20:04 authored by Diana M Ramirez GutierrezDiana M Ramirez Gutierrez

Feedstock variability represents a challenge in the adoption of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuels and biochemicals production, due to the differences in critical chemical and physical properties like lignin content, and water absorption respectively. Thus, difficult continuous manufacturing processes in biorefineries, hinder the transition from liquid feedstocks to renewable materials that consisting of solid particles. Modeling of flow properties based on rheological measurements of treated biomass is a quantitative metric for identifying if different feedstocks form pumpable slurries. Additionally, the correlation of yield stress to physical and chemical properties gives a measure that accounts for the variability in the processing design. This research models rheological properties and relates these to compositional data from different non-pretreated fractions of corn stover biomass slurries. Slurries were formed with solids concentrations of 300 g/L in a 6 hours fed-batch process using the commercial enzymes Celluclast 1.5L or Ctec-2 at 1FPU/g or 3 FPU/g of dry solids, basis to enable the liquefaction (i.e., slurry-forming) mechanism. We found that insoluble lignin content of the different fractions was related to water absorption in pellets and free water on slurries and that free water was a good indicator of the potential for a material to form slurry. Higher flowability (lower yield stress) was found at higher content of lignin, particularly for materials containing 26% lignin where yield stress was reduced to 254Pa when compared with mixtures of 14% lignin that presented yield stresses of around 4000 Pa. We show that rheology modeling linked to compositional characteristics for biomass slurries can be used to predict material flow behavior in a biorefinery to optimize and achieve high solids loadings that enhance the production of ethanol for biofuels. This insight and the ability to form high concentration slurries before pretreatment holds the potential to develop new processing strategies that could help to foster a more efficient and sustainable bio-based industry.

Funding

DOE EE0008910

Purdue University College of Agriculture Idea Challenge 2030

History

Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Department

  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michael R. Ladisch

Additional Committee Member 2

Eduardo Ximenes

Additional Committee Member 3

Kendra Erk

Additional Committee Member 4

Nathan Mosier

Additional Committee Member 5

John Aston