(724b) Multi-Stream Integrated Biorefinery (MIBR) for Sustainable and Cost-Effective Biofuels and Bioproducts
The success of a modern biorefinery heavily depends on the availability of diverse product streams. The utilization of the lignin-containing biorefinery waste as feedstock for renewable products offers a unique opportunity to achieve a multi-stream integrated biorefinery (MIBR), where the lignin-containing biorefinery waste will be utilized for value-added biproducts to maximize economic return and sustainability. Specifically, we have advanced the fractionation, conversion, and processing technologies to enable different bioproduct streams. Several pretreatment and fractionation technologies were developed to fractionate lignin-containing biorefinery waste into low- and high- molecular weight fractions with more homogenous chemical characteristics. We have demonstrated that these lignin fractions are more amenable to different applications in bioconversion, asphalt binder modifier, and carbon fiber. The low molecular weight fraction is more amenable to bioconversion into PHA for bioplastics and lipid for biodiesel. Systems biology-guided microbial engineering has significantly improved lignin depolymerization, aromatic compound conversion, and bioproduct synthesis, which led to the record yields of lipid and PHA from biorefinery waste. In addition, the low molecular weight lignin can be used as unique asphalt binder modifiers to improve both high and low temperature performance of road pavement. The high molecular weight fraction can be used to fabricate carbon fiber with significantly improved mechanical performance and conductivity. Together, MIBR will reduce ethanol production cost through the creation of high value bioproducts, produce asphalt binder modifier with unique features, develop an innovative, new pathway to quality carbon fiber; and create a means to utilize all carbon in the feedstocks.