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(538h) Using the ?-Valerolactone Biorefinery to Fractionate Biomass into Sugar and Phenolic Streams for Microbial Conversion to Fuels and Co-Products

Coplien, J., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sener, C., University of Wisconsin - Madison
Zhang, Y., Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Perez, M., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Umana, G., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Donohue, T. J., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ralph, J., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Noguera, D. R., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Replacing the petrochemical refinery with a lignocellulosic biorefinery requires conversion of the biomass to (ideally drop-in) commodity chemicals and fuels. One of the proposed biorefinery designs is structured around the dissolution and fractionation of biomass using an acidic solution of γ-valerolactone (GVL), water, and mineral acid (e.g., sulfuric acid). In this design the biomass is fractionated into multiple process streams to be converted to fuels, co-products, and energy. The techniques used to recover the GVL solvent, neutralize the acid, and isolate the lignin are energy demanding and use high volumes of water and organic solvent. Efficient recovery of the GVL is required to remove microbial inhibition in the downstream conversion of the sugar and lignin streams. We will discuss the technical issues and potential solutions we found in a bench scale GVL-biorefinery that fractionates lignocellulosic biomass to sugar and phenolic streams for microbial conversion to liquid fuels and commodity chemicals.