Reinforcement of the bio-gas conversion from pyrolysis of wheat straw by hot caustic pre-extraction.
ABSTRACT: Pyrolysis has attracted growing interest as a versatile means to convert biomass into valuable products. Wheat straw has been considered to be a promising biomass resource due to its low price and easy availability. However, most of the products obtained from wheat straw pyrolysis are usually of low quality. Hot soda extraction has the advantage of selective dissolution of lignin whilst retaining the carbohydrates. This can selectively convert biomass into high-quality desired products and suppress the formation of undesirable products. The aim of this study was to investigate the pyrolysis properties of wheat straw under different hot caustic pretreatment conditions.Compared with the untreated straw, a greater amount of gas was released and fewer residues were retained in the extracted wheat straw, which was caused by an increase in porosity. When the NaOH loading was 14%, the average pore size of the extracted straw increased by 12% and the cumulative pore volume increased by 157% compared with the untreated straw. The extracted straw obtained from the 14% NaOH extraction was clearly selective for pyrolysis products. On one hand, many lignin pyrolysis products disappeared, and only four main lignin-unit-pyrolysis products were retained. On the other hand, polysaccharide pyrolysis products were enriched. Both propanone and furfural have outstanding peak intensities that could account for approximately 30% of the total pyrolysis products. However, with the excessive addition of NaOH (i.e. >?22% w/w) during pretreatment, the conversion of bio-gas products decreased. Thermogravimetric and low-temperature nitrogen-adsorption analysis showed that the pore structure had been seriously destroyed, leading to the closing of the release paths of the bio-gas and thus increasing the re-polymerisation of small bio-gas molecules.After suitable extraction (14% NaOH loading extraction), a considerable amount (25%) of the soluble components dissolved out of the straw. This resulted in an increase in both pore size and volume. This condition appeared to be optimally selective for the release of value-added pyrolysis products such as furfural, ketones and lignin monomer units. However, excessive addition of alkali (22%) for extraction could change the original interior structure, resulting in a decrease in both pore size and volume. This interior structure modification limited the release of pyrolysis products, and greater carbonisation occurred.
Project description:Understanding the mechanisms underlying plant biomass recalcitrance at the molecular level can only be achieved by accurate analyses of both the content and structural features of the molecules involved. Current quantification of lignin is, however, majorly based on unspecific gravimetric analysis after sulfuric acid hydrolysis. Hence, our research aimed at specific lignin quantification with concurrent characterization of its structural features. Hereto, for the first time, a polymeric 13C lignin was used as internal standard (IS) for lignin quantification via analytical pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography with mass-spectrometric detection in selected ion monitoring mode (py-GC-SIM-MS). In addition, relative response factors (RRFs) for the various pyrolysis products obtained were determined and applied. First, 12C and 13C lignin were isolated from nonlabeled and uniformly 13C labeled wheat straw, respectively, and characterized by heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and py-GC/MS. The two lignin isolates were found to have identical structures. Second, 13C-IS based lignin quantification by py-GC-SIM-MS was validated in reconstituted biomass model systems with known contents of the 12C lignin analogue and was shown to be extremely accurate (>99.9%, R2 > 0.999) and precise (RSD < 1.5%). Third, 13C-IS based lignin quantification was applied to four common poaceous biomass sources (wheat straw, barley straw, corn stover, and sugar cane bagasse), and lignin contents were in good agreement with the total gravimetrically determined lignin contents. Our robust method proves to be a promising alternative for the high-throughput quantification of lignin in milled biomass samples directly and simultaneously provides a direct insight into the structural features of lignin.
Project description:A fractionation method for technical lignin was developed, combining organic solvent extraction and membrane ultrafiltration of the solvent soluble component. This method was validated on a commercial wheat straw/Sarkanda grass lignin (Protobind 1000) using 2-butanone (MEK) as the solvent for both the extraction and the ultrafiltration operations. The parent lignin and the different obtained fractions were fully characterized in terms of chemical composition and physicochemical properties by gel permeation chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), pyrolysis-GC/MS, total phenol contents, 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (31P NMR), thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry analysis, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The results show that the proposed process allows a straightforward recovery of the different lignin fractions as well as a selective control over their molecular mass distribution and related dependent properties. Moreover, the operating flexibility of the Soxhlet/ultrafiltration process allows the treatment of lignins from different feedstocks using the same installation just by modulating the choice of the solvent and the membrane porosity with the best characteristics. This is one of the most important features of the proposed strategy, which represents a new fractionation approach with the potential to improve lignin valorization for materials science and preparative organic chemistry applications.
Project description:Lignin was isolated from wheat straw via organosolv process and further transferred to monophenolic compounds via oxidative conversion. Wheat straw lignin (WSL) with purity at 91.4 wt% was acquired in the presence of heterogeneous and recyclable catalyst of Amberlyst-45. WSL was characterized by infrared spectrometer (IR), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) including 1H NMR and 13C NMR spectra. The results showed that WSL possesses typical syringyl (S), guaiacyl (G), and p-hydroxyphenyl (H) units, and it is mainly composed of S and G units. The product distribution was dependent on the composition of WSL. Derivatives from S and G units were found to be the main products. The oxidative conversion of WSL was performed by varying oxidant and catalyst. Both the formation of monophenolic compounds and aromatic aldehydes were enhanced by combining oxidants and catalysts. The composite catalyst composed of NaOH/NaAlO2 was effective for the oxidation of WSL in the presence of nitrobenzene and atmospheric pressure air. The total yield of monophenolic compounds reached up 18.1%, and yields at 6.3 and 5.7% for syringaldehyde and vanillin were achieved, respectively.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In this study, the dilute maleic acid pretreatment of wheat straw is optimized, using pretreatment time, temperature and maleic acid concentration as design variables. A central composite design was applied to the experimental set up. The response factors used in this study are: (1) glucose benefits from improved enzymatic digestibility of wheat straw solids; (2) xylose benefits from the solubilization of xylan to the liquid phase during the pretreatment; (3) maleic acid replenishment costs; (4) neutralization costs of pretreated material; (5) costs due to furfural production; and (6) heating costs of the input materials. For each response factor, experimental data were fitted mathematically. After data translation to euro/Mg dry straw, determining the relative contribution of each response factor, an economic optimization was calculated within the limits of the design variables. RESULTS: When costs are disregarded, an almost complete glucan conversion to glucose can be reached (90% from solids, 7%-10% in liquid), after enzymatic hydrolysis. During the pretreatment, up to 90% of all xylan is converted to monomeric xylose. Taking cost factors into account, the optimal process conditions are: 50 min at 170 degrees C, with 46 mM maleic acid, resulting in a yield of 65 euro/Mg (megagram = metric ton) dry straw, consisting of 68 euro/Mg glucose benefits (from solids: 85% of all glucan), 17 euro/Mg xylose benefits (from liquid: 80% of all xylan), 17 euro/Mg maleic acid costs, 2.0 euro/Mg heating costs and 0.68 euro/Mg NaOH costs. In all but the most severe of the studied conditions, furfural formation was so limited that associated costs are considered negligible. CONCLUSIONS: After the dilute maleic acid pretreatment and subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis, almost complete conversion of wheat straw glucan and xylan is possible. Taking maleic acid replenishment, heating, neutralization and furfural formation into account, the optimum in the dilute maleic acid pretreatment of wheat straw in this study is 65 euro/Mg dry feedstock. This is reached when process conditions are: 50 min at 170 degrees C, with a maleic acid concentration of 46 mM. Maleic acid replenishment is the most important of the studied cost factors.
Project description:In modern biorefineries, low value lignin and hemicellulose fractions are produced as side streams. New extraction methods for their purification are needed in order to utilize the whole biomass more efficiently and to produce special target products. In several new applications using plant-based biomaterials, the native-type chemical and polymeric properties are desired. Especially, production of high-quality native-type lignin enables valorization of biomass entirely, thus making novel processes sustainable and economically viable. To investigate sulfur-free possibilities for so-called "lignin first" technologies, we compared alkaline organosolv, formic acid organosolv, and ionic liquid processes to simple soda "cooking" using wheat straw and aspen as raw materials. All experiments were carried out using microwave-assisted pulping approach to enable rapid heat transfer and convenient control of temperature and pressure. The main target was to evaluate the advantage of a brief hot water extraction as a pretreatment for the pulping process. Most of these novel pulping methods resulted in high-quality lignin, which may be valorized more diversely than kraft lignin. Lignin fractions were thoroughly analyzed with NMR (13C and HSQC) and gel permeation chromatography to study the quality of the collected lignin. The cellulose fractions were analyzed by determining their lignin contents and carbohydrate profiles for further utilization in cellulose-based products or biofuels.
Project description:The role of laccase SilA produced by Streptomyces ipomoeae CECT 3341 in lignocellulose degradation was investigated. A comparison of the properties and activities of a laccase-negative mutant strain (SilA-) with that of the wild-type was studied in terms of their ability to degrade lignin from grass lignocellulose. The yields of solubilized lignin (acid precipitable polymeric lignin, APPL) obtained from wheat straw by both strains in Solid State Fermentation (SSF) conditions demonstrated the importance of SilA laccase in lignin degradation with the wild-type showing 5-fold more APPL produced compared with the mutant strain (SilA-). Analytical pyrolysis and FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) confirmed that the APPL obtained from the substrate fermented by wild-type strain was dominated by lignin derived methoxyphenols whereas those from SilA- and control APPLs were composed mainly of polysaccharides. This is the first report highlighting the role of this laccase in lignin degradation.
Project description:Wheat straw based composting generates a selective substrate for mushroom production. The first phase of this process requires 5 days, and a reduction in time is wished. Here, we aim at understanding the effect of gypsum on the duration of the first phase and the mechanism behind it. Hereto, the regular process with gypsum addition and the same process without gypsum were studied during a 5-day period. The compost quality was evaluated based on compost lignin composition analysed by py-GC/MS and its degradability by a commercial (hemi-)cellulolytic enzyme cocktail. The composting phase lead to the decrease of the pyrolysis products 4-vinylphenol and 4-vinylguaiacol that can be associated with p-coumarates and ferulates linking xylan and lignin. In the regular compost, the enzymatic conversion reached 32 and 39% for cellulose, and 23 and 32% for xylan after 3 and 5 days, respectively. In absence of gypsum similar values were reached after 2 and 4 days, respectively. Thus, our data show that in absence of gypsum the desired compost quality was reached 20% earlier compared to the control process.
Project description:Due to the enormous abundance of lignin and its unique aromatic nature, lignin has great potential for the production of industrially useful fuels, chemicals, and materials. However, the rigid and compact structure of the plant cell walls significantly blocks the separation of lignin. In this study, wheat straw was hydrothermally pretreated at different temperatures (120-200 °C) followed by post-treatment with 70% ethanol containing 1% NaOH to improve the isolation of lignin. Results demonstrated that the content of associated carbohydrates of the lignin fractions was gradually reduced with the increment of the hydrothermal severity. The structure of the lignins changed regularly with the increase of the pretreatment temperature from 120 to 200 °C. In particular, the contents of β-O-4', β-β', β-5' linkages and aliphatic OH in the lignins showed a tendency of decrease, while the content of phenolic OH and thermal stability of the lignin fractions increased steadily as the increment of the pretreatment temperature.