(614c) Novel Enzymatic Treatment to Enhance Delamination of Corn Stalk for Efficient Separation of Pith and Rind
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 8:30am to 8:45am
The utilization of agricultural waste material, such as corn stover has gained considerable attention in recent years as a feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. However, the inherent heterogeneity of the material presents considerable challenges to efficient industrial processing. Uniformity can be improved through mechanical fractionation of the biomass into groups of cobs, leaves, husks or stalks. However, the tight adherence of rind to pith within corn stalk prevents the separation of these very different materials through mechanical means alone is insufficient with respect to achieving heterogeneity with corn stalk. Further separation of corn stalk into pith and rind will permit more efficient processing and will enable the development of co-products that are well-suited to one material or the other. We report the development of an efficient enzymatic process that facilitates the delamination of corn stalk rind from pith. Delamination occurs in an enzyme concentration dependent manner and yields whole intact pith and rind. Enzyme treatment improved pith removal by more than 60% compared to no treatment. The enzymatic treatment occurs at solids loading of 60% over the course of two weeks and could be implemented in queuing piles at the refinery gate without affecting downstream operations. Cost considerations and value added to biorefinery operations will be discussed.