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Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 16532

Special Issue Editors

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: biodegradable waste; microalgae, sewage sludge, biogas; anaerobic digestion; co-digestion; biomass pretreatment; life cycle assessment (LCA); low-tech digesters
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Patras, 2 Georgiou Seferi St., Agrinio, Greece
Interests: microbial fuel cells (MFCs); microbial electrolysis cells (MECs); biofuel production via microbial processes (anaerobic digestion, fermentative hydrogen production and bioethanol production)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, C148 Luleå, Sweden
Interests: biomass pretreatment and fractionation; organosolv; bioenergy; biofuels; biomaterials; heterotrophic growth of algae; production of nutraceutical compounds; lignin valorization; enzymatic processes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Engineering Faculty, Environmental Engineering Department, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey
Interests: biofuel (bioethanol) and bioenergy (biogas) production from wastewater, solid wastes, energy crops, and microalgae; physicochemical pretreatment processes of lignocellulosic biomass; process optimization of pretreatment processes; modeling of anaerobic digestion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Βiomass represents one of the most abundant biological resources, including agricultural and forestry residues, herbaceous and woody crops, manure, sewage sludge, the biodegradable fraction of municipal solid waste, animal by-products, and algae (third-generation biomass). Although it is the most promising feedstock for biofuels or biomaterials generation, considering its availability and low/zero cost, its complex structure restricts its transformation, accompanied by low conversion yields and productivities. In order to overcome the structural and compositional barriers for converting biomass into bio-products, an efficient fractionation via pretreatment is considered as a prerequisite.
Several pretreatment methods such as mechanical, physicochemical, thermal, and biological have been developed to improve the biomass transformation process efficiencies, rates, and yields. However, their high-cost and specific energy requirements are often significant barriers for the total process economy, remaining the main challenge for scaling-up the whole process. Thus, the development of an efficient, low-cost, and environmentally friendly pretreatment approach is still quite appealing.
This Special Issue will present new trends and recent developments in biomass pretreatment technologies towards bioproducts or biofuels production. Papers describing new insights into pretreatment mechanisms; the development of new, efficient pretreatment processes; environmental, energy or economic assessments, and modeling of pretreatment processes are particularly welcome. Review articles are also welcome.

Dr. Ivet Ferrer
Dr. Georgia Antonopoulou
Dr. Leonidas Matsakas
Dr. Nuriye Altınay Perendeci
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • New pretreatment technologies
  • Pretreatment mechanisms
  • Biomass fractionation for biorefinery
  • Pretreatment modeling
  • Environmental assessment
  • Energy assessment
  • Economic assessment
  • Life cycle assessment

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 3837 KiB  
Article
Energy Crops and Methane: Process Optimization of Ca(OH)2 Assisted Thermal Pretreatment and Modeling of Methane Production
Molecules 2022, 27(20), 6891; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27206891 - 14 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
Switchgrass earned its place globally as a significant energy crop by possessing essential properties such as being able to control erosion, low cost of production, biomass richness, and appeal for biofuel production. In this study, the impact of a Ca(OH)2-assisted thermal [...] Read more.
Switchgrass earned its place globally as a significant energy crop by possessing essential properties such as being able to control erosion, low cost of production, biomass richness, and appeal for biofuel production. In this study, the impact of a Ca(OH)2-assisted thermal pretreatment process on the switchgrass variety Shawnee for methane fuel production was investigated. The Ca(OH)2-assisted thermal pretreatment process was optimized to enhance the methane production potential of switchgrass. Solid loading (3–7%), Ca(OH)2 concentration (0–2%), reaction temperature (50–100 °C), and reaction time (6–16 h) were selected as independent variables for the optimization. Methane production was obtained as 248.7 mL CH4 gVS−1 under the optimized pretreatment conditions. Specifically, a reaction temperature of 100 °C, a reaction time of 6 h, 0% Ca(OH)2, and 3% solid loading. Compared to raw switchgrass, methane production was enhanced by 14.5%. Additionally, the changes in surface properties and bond structure, along with the kinetic parameters from first order, cone, reaction curve, and modified Gompertz modeling revealed the importance of optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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17 pages, 3336 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study of Various Pretreatment Approaches for Bio-Ethanol Production from Willow Sawdust, Using Co-Cultures and Mono-Cultures of Different Yeast Strains
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27041344 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1904
Abstract
The effect of different pretreatment approaches based on alkali (NaOH)/hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on willow sawdust (WS) biomass, in terms of delignification efficiency, structural changes of lignocellulose and subsequent fermentation toward ethanol, was investigated. Bioethanol production was carried out using [...] Read more.
The effect of different pretreatment approaches based on alkali (NaOH)/hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on willow sawdust (WS) biomass, in terms of delignification efficiency, structural changes of lignocellulose and subsequent fermentation toward ethanol, was investigated. Bioethanol production was carried out using the conventional yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as well as three non-conventional yeasts strains, i.e., Pichia stipitis, Pachysolen tannophilus, Wickerhamomyces anomalus X19, separately and in co-cultures. The experimental results showed that a two-stage pretreatment approach (NaOH (0.5% w/v) for 24 h and H2O2 (0.5% v/v) for 24 h) led to higher delignification (38.3 ± 0.1%) and saccharification efficiency (31.7 ± 0.3%) and higher ethanol concentration and yield. Monocultures of S. cerevisiae or W. anomalus X19 and co-cultures with P. stipitis exhibited ethanol yields in the range of 11.67 ± 0.21 to 13.81 ± 0.20 g/100 g total solids (TS). When WS was subjected to H2O2 (0.5% v/v) alone for 24 h, the lowest ethanol yields were observed for all yeast strains, due to the minor impact of this treatment on the main chemical and structural WS characteristics. In order to decide which is the best pretreatment approach, a detailed techno-economical assessment is needed, which will take into account the ethanol yields and the minimum processing cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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24 pages, 8679 KiB  
Article
Valorization of Cladophora glomerata Biomass and Obtained Bioproducts into Biostimulants of Plant Growth and as Sorbents (Biosorbents) of Metal Ions
Molecules 2021, 26(22), 6917; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26226917 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1892
Abstract
The aim of this study was to propose a complete approach for macroalgae biomass valorization into products useful for sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. In the first stage, the effects of macroalgal extracts and ZnO NPs (zinc oxide nanoparticles) on the germination and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to propose a complete approach for macroalgae biomass valorization into products useful for sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. In the first stage, the effects of macroalgal extracts and ZnO NPs (zinc oxide nanoparticles) on the germination and growth of radish were examined. Macroalgal extract was produced from freshwater macroalga, i.e., Cladophora glomerata by ultrasound assisted extraction (UAE). The extract was used to biosynthesize zinc oxide nanoparticles. In germination tests, extracts and solutions of ZnO NPs were applied on paper substrate before sowing. In the second stage, sorption properties of macroalga, post-extraction residue, and ZnO NPs to absorb Cr(III) ions were examined. In the germination tests, the highest values of hypocotyl length (the edible part of radish), i.e., 3.3 and 2.6 cm were obtained for 60 and 80% extract (among the tested concentrations 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100%) and 10 and 50 mg/L NPs, respectively. The highest sorption capacity of Cr(III) ions (344.8 mg/g) was obtained by both macroalga and post-extraction residue at a pH of 5 and initial Cr(III) ions concentration of 200 mg/L. This study proves that macroalgae and products based on them can be applied in both sustainable agriculture and wastewater treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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13 pages, 2023 KiB  
Article
Organosolv Fractionation of Birch Sawdust: Establishing a Lignin-First Biorefinery
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6754; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216754 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2005
Abstract
The use of residual biomass for bioconversions makes it possible to decrease the output of fossil-based chemicals and pursue a greener economy. While the use of lignocellulosic material as sustainable feedstock has been tried at pilot scale, industrial production is not yet economically [...] Read more.
The use of residual biomass for bioconversions makes it possible to decrease the output of fossil-based chemicals and pursue a greener economy. While the use of lignocellulosic material as sustainable feedstock has been tried at pilot scale, industrial production is not yet economically feasible, requiring further technology and feedstock optimization. The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of replacing woodchips with residual sawdust in biorefinery applications. Woodchips can be used in value-added processes such as paper pulp production, whereas sawdust is currently used mainly for combustion. The main advantages of sawdust are its large supply and a particle size sufficiently small for the pretreatment process. Whereas, the main challenge is the higher complexity of the lignocellulosic biomass, as it can contain small amounts of bark and cambium. Here, we studied the fractionation of birch sawdust by organosolv pretreatment at two different temperatures and for two different durations. We evaluated the efficiency of fractionation into the three main fractions: lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. The cellulose content in pretreated biomass was as high as 69.2%, which was nearly double the amount in untreated biomass. The obtained lignin was of high purity, with a maximum 4.5% of contaminating sugars. Subsequent evaluation of the susceptibility of pretreated solids to enzymatic saccharification revealed glucose yields ranging from 75% to 90% after 48 h but reaching 100.0% under the best conditions. In summary, birch sawdust can be successfully utilized as a feedstock for organosolv fractionation and replace woodchips to simplify and lower the costs of biorefinery processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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16 pages, 1011 KiB  
Article
Pretreatment, Anaerobic Codigestion, or Both? Which Is More Suitable for the Enhancement of Methane Production from Agricultural Waste?
Molecules 2021, 26(14), 4175; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26144175 - 09 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2141
Abstract
Pretreatment and codigestion are proven to be effective strategies for the enhancement of the anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic residues. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of pretreatment and codigestion on methane production and the hydrolysis rate in the anaerobic [...] Read more.
Pretreatment and codigestion are proven to be effective strategies for the enhancement of the anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic residues. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of pretreatment and codigestion on methane production and the hydrolysis rate in the anaerobic digestion of agricultural wastes (AWs). Thermal and different thermochemical pretreatments were applied on AWs. Sewage sludge (SS) was selected as a cosubstrate. Biochemical methane potential tests were performed by mixing SS with raw and pretreated AWs at different mixing ratios. Hydrolysis rates were estimated by the best fit obtained with the first-order kinetic model. As a result of the experimental and kinetic studies, the best strategy was determined to be thermochemical pretreatment with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). This strategy resulted in a maximum enhancement in the anaerobic digestion of AWs, a 56% increase in methane production, an 81.90% increase in the hydrolysis rate and a 79.63% decrease in the technical digestion time compared to raw AWs. On the other hand, anaerobic codigestion (AcoD) with SS was determined to be ineffective when it came to the enhancement of methane production and the hydrolysis rate. The most suitable mixing ratio was determined to be 80:20 (Aws/SS) for the AcoD of the studied AWs with SS in order to obtain the highest possible methane production without any antagonistic effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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9 pages, 6127 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Different Operation Modes of Microbial Fuel Cells Treating Food Residue Biomass
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3987; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133987 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Four multiple air–cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were developed under the scope of using extracts from fermentable household food waste (FORBI) for the production of bioelectricity. The operation of the MFCs was assessed in batch mode, considering each cell individually. Τhe chemical oxygen [...] Read more.
Four multiple air–cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were developed under the scope of using extracts from fermentable household food waste (FORBI) for the production of bioelectricity. The operation of the MFCs was assessed in batch mode, considering each cell individually. Τhe chemical oxygen demand (COD) efficiency was relatively high in all cases (>85% for all batch cycles) while the electricity yield was 20 mJ/gCOD/L of extract solution. The four units were then electrically connected as a stack, both in series and in parallel, and were operated continuously. Approximately 62% COD consumption was obtained in continuous stack operation operated in series and 67% when operated in parallel. The electricity yield of the stack was 2.6 mJ/gCOD/L of extract solution when operated continuously in series and 0.7 mJ/gCOD/L when operated continuously in parallel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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14 pages, 2356 KiB  
Article
Sugar Production from Hybrid Poplar Sawdust: Optimization of Enzymatic Hydrolysis and Wet Explosion Pretreatment
Molecules 2020, 25(15), 3396; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25153396 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2310
Abstract
Wet explosion pretreatment of hybrid poplar sawdust (PSD) for the production of fermentable sugar was carried out in the pilot-scale. The effects of pretreatment conditions, such as temperature (170–190 °C), oxygen dosage (0.5–7.5% of dry matter (DM), w/w), residence time [...] Read more.
Wet explosion pretreatment of hybrid poplar sawdust (PSD) for the production of fermentable sugar was carried out in the pilot-scale. The effects of pretreatment conditions, such as temperature (170–190 °C), oxygen dosage (0.5–7.5% of dry matter (DM), w/w), residence time (10–30 min), on cellulose and hemicellulose digestibility after enzymatic hydrolysis were ascertained with a central composite design of the experiment. Further, enzymatic hydrolysis was optimized in terms of temperature, pH, and a mixture of CTec2 and HTec2 enzymes (Novozymes). Predictive modeling showed that cellulose and hemicellulose digestibility of 75.1% and 83.1%, respectively, could be achieved with a pretreatment at 177 °C with 7.5% O2 and a retention time of 30 min. An increased cellulose digestibility of 87.1% ± 0.1 could be achieved by pretreating at 190 °C; however, the hemicellulose yield would be significantly reduced. It was evident that more severe conditions were required for maximal cellulose digestibility than that of hemicellulose digestibility and that an optimal sugar yield demanded a set of conditions, which overall resulted in the maximum sugar yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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18 pages, 1627 KiB  
Article
Designing Efficient Processes for Sustainable Bioethanol and Bio-Hydrogen Production from Grass Lawn Waste
Molecules 2020, 25(12), 2889; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122889 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2163
Abstract
The effect of thermal, acid and alkali pretreatment methods on biological hydrogen (BHP) and bioethanol production (BP) from grass lawn (GL) waste was investigated, under different process schemes. BHP from the whole pretreatment slurry of GL was performed through mixed microbial cultures in [...] Read more.
The effect of thermal, acid and alkali pretreatment methods on biological hydrogen (BHP) and bioethanol production (BP) from grass lawn (GL) waste was investigated, under different process schemes. BHP from the whole pretreatment slurry of GL was performed through mixed microbial cultures in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) mode, while BP was carried out through the C5yeast Pichia stipitis, in SSF mode. From these experiments, the best pretreatment conditions were determined and the efficiencies for each process were assessed and compared, when using either the whole pretreatment slurry or the separated fractions (solid and liquid), the separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF) or SSF mode, and especially for BP, the use of other yeasts such as Pachysolen tannophilus or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The experimental results showed that pretreatment with 10 gH2SO4/100 g total solids (TS) was the optimum for both BHP and BP. Separation of solid and liquid pretreated fractions led to the highest BHP (270.1 mL H2/g TS, corresponding to 3.4 MJ/kg TS) and also BP (108.8 mg ethanol/g TS, corresponding to 2.9 MJ/kg TS) yields. The latter was achieved by using P. stipitis for the fermentation of the hydrolysate and S. serevisiae for the solid fraction fermentation, at SSF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Technology for the Pretreatment of Biomass III)
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