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Evaluation of High Solids Alkaline Pretreatment of Rice Straw

  • Author(s): Cheng, Yu-Shen
  • Zheng, Yi
  • Yu, Chao Wei
  • Dooley, Todd M.
  • Jenkins, Bryan M.
  • VanderGheynst, Jean S.
  • et al.
Abstract

Fresh-harvested, air-dried rice straw was pretreated at a water content of 5 g H2O/g straw using sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and compared to pretreatment at 10 g H2O/g straw by hydrated lime (Ca(OH)2). Full factorial experiments including parallel wash-only treatments were completed with both sources of alkali. The experiments were designed to measure the effects of alkaline loading and pretreatment time on delignification and sugar yield upon enzymatic hydrolysis. Reaction temperature was held constant at 95°C for lime pretreatment and 55°C for NaOH pretreatment. The range of delignification was 13.1% to 27.0% for lime pretreatments and was 8.6% to 23.1% for NaOH pretreatments. Both alkaline loading and reaction time had significant positive effects (p < 0.001) on delignification under the design conditions, but only alkaline loading had a significant positive effect on enzymatic hydrolysis. Treatment at higher temperature also improved delignification; delignification with water alone ranged from 9.9% to 14.5% for pretreatment at 95°C, but there was little effect observed at 55°C. Post-pretreatment washing of biomass was not necessary for subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis. Maximum glucose yields were 176.3 mg/g dried biomass (48.5% conversion efficiency of total glucose) in lime-pretreated and unwashed biomass and were 142.3 mg/g dried biomass (39.2% conversion efficiency of total glucose) in NaOH-pretreated and unwashed biomass.

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