Ammonia-Salt Solvent Promotes Cellulosic Biomass Deconstruction Under Ambient Processing Conditions
November 29, 2019
A new highly efficient ammonia:ammonium salt (A:At) solvent based biomass pretreatment was devised. Using
time-resolved small-angle neutron scattering it was possible to determine the mechanism of dissolution of
crystalline cellulose into a ‘molecular’ solution. Complementary molecular dynamics simulations showed
how the A:At solvent disrupted the cellulose hydrogen bonding network.
Significance and Impact
A:At pretreated cellulose requires ∼50-fold less enzyme for saccharification into fermentable sugars for biorefining. The reaction takes place under ambient conditions, requiring much less energy input compared to most conventional thermochemical pretreatment processes.
Time-resolved SANS studies performed in deuterated
A:At solvents revealed the structural changes in cellulose
as they occurred.
Enzyme digestion studies quantified the efficiency of the
A:At solvent allowed 80-85% recovery of lignin from corn
stover under ambient pretreatment conditions.