Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a simple, effective and relatively inexpensive technique for removing lignin from the plant material used to make biofuels, which may drive down the cost of biofuel production.
Lignin, nature’s way of protecting plant cell walls, is difficult to break down or remove from plant materials called “biomass,” such as the non-edible parts of the corn plant. However, that lignin needs to be extracted in order to reach the energy-rich cellulose that is used to make biofuels.
“Finding inexpensive ways to remove lignin is one of the largest barriers to producing cost-effective biofuels,” says Ezinne Achinivu, a Ph.D. student in chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and lead author of a study describing the new technique. “And our approach is very promising.”
The researchers began by making a number of liquid salts called “protic ionic liquids” or PILs. These PILs are fairly inexpensive to prepare, because they are made by mixing together an acid, such as acetic acid (more commonly known as vinegar), and a base (a chemical class of materials called amines). As part of the pretreatment process, one of the PILs is mixed with biomass and then heated and stirred. The lignin dissolves into the PIL, leaving the cellulose behind as a solid. The cellulose, which is now much easier to process, is then easily filtered from the mixture for use in the next biofuel production steps.
The remaining PIL-lignin liquid mixture can then be heated to distill (or vaporize) the PIL, leaving the lignin behind as a black powder. The vapors from the PIL are collected and cooled to recover the liquid PIL so that it can be re-used. The lignin is also valuable, because it can be used to manufacture polymers or other chemical products which could supplement the cost of running the biofuel production facility.
“This PIL-based technique can be easily scaled up and is likely to be both more energy efficient and less expensive than existing biomass pretreatment techniques for removing lignin,” Achinivu says.
The Latest on: Biofuel production
via Google News
The Latest on: Biofuel production
- Manitoba seek comments on proposed increase to biofuel mandateson October 12, 2020 at 4:35 pm
The Manitoba government is proposing to increase the required renewable content in gasoline to 10 percent and the required renewable content in diesel to 5 percent, effective Jan. 1. A 45-day comment ...
- Trade, biofuels and the environment: key agriculture issues in U.S. electionon October 12, 2020 at 4:13 pm
U.S. President Donald Trump enjoys broad support among farmers, but some are unhappy about the impact of his trade and biofuel policies on crop prices and international demand for U.S. agricultural ...
- Ethanol Fuel Market 2020 Industry Size, Trends, Global Growth, Insights and Forecast Research Report 2026on October 12, 2020 at 9:27 am
This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire New York, NY -- ( SBWIRE) -- 10/12/2020 -- Market Insights: The recently updated research report on the Ethanol Fuel market highlights vital ...
- Ethanol can help Iowa 'weather the storm' and tackle thorny pollution problems for the countryon October 11, 2020 at 3:48 am
As an aromatics substitute, high octane ethanol is safe, reduces carbon emissions, is environmentally friendly and cost effective.
- EU Commission Extends Swedish Biofuel Tax Exemptionon October 9, 2020 at 11:46 am
The European Commission has approved a tax exemption on biofuels in Sweden through the end of next year, saying the measure is appropriate to encourage production of the fuels and will help meet ...
- Here's Why Shares of Pacific Ethanol Skyrocketed 85% in Septemberon October 8, 2020 at 4:39 pm
Soaring 69% in August, shares of Pacific Ethanol (NASDAQ:PEIX) stayed hot in September and climbed 85%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. With coronavirus cases continuing to rise ...
- Keeping it clean: U.S. ethanol producers invest in sanitizer for long haulon October 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm
Red River Biorefinery in Grand Forks, North Dakota, came online in April, arguably the worst time for an ethanol facility to begin operating as the coronavirus pandemic sank fuel demand.
- Federal funds on the way to support ethanol production in Iowaon October 8, 2020 at 11:12 am
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Thursday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested $22 million out of the up to $100 million in grants available to increase American ...
- Sugar industry bets big on ethanol, expects dip of 20 lakh tonne in production of sweetener in 2020-21on October 7, 2020 at 10:57 pm
At the start of the 2020-21 sugarcane crushing season, the sugar industry in the country appears to be upbeat about production of ethanol. Industry sources told The Indian Express that they expect a ...
- Bacterial cellulose degradation system could give boost to biofuels productionon October 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Researchers have uncovered details of how a certain type of bacteria breaks down cellulose -- a finding that could help reduce the cost and environmental impact of the use of biomass, including ...
via Bing News