News International Sugar Journal

Integrated conversion of cellulosic feedstocks to chemicals via gamma-valerolactone [Registered]

Using a biomass-derived solvent, University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineers have streamlined the process for converting lignocellulosic biomass into chemicals or energy-dense liquid transportation fuel. Their new method eliminates the need for costly pretreatment steps that separate hemicellulose and cellulose, two main components of plant biomass that react at different rates. Pretreatment and extraction or separation steps can account for up to 30 percent of the total capital cost of a biofuels production plant. The “magic potion” that enables the researchers to simultaneously process hemicellulose and cellulose, which have significantly different physical and chemical properties, is gamma-valerolactone, or GVL.…

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