Optimization of the dilute maleic acid pretreatment of wheat straw

A.M.J. Kootstra, H.H. Beeftink, E.L. Scott, J.P.M. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 €/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°C, with 46 mM maleic acid, resulting in a yield of 65 €/Mg (megagram = metric ton) dry straw, consisting of 68 €/Mg glucose benefits (from solids: 85% of all glucan), 17 €/Mg xylose benefits (from liquid: 80% of all xylan), 17 €/Mg maleic acid costs, 2.0 €/Mg heating costs and 0.68 €/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 €/Mg dry feedstock. This is reached when process conditions are: 50 min at 170°C, with a maleic acid concentration of 46 mM. Maleic acid replenishment is the most important of the studied cost factors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31
Number of pages14
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • cellulose hydrolysis
  • enzymatic-hydrolysis
  • ethanologenic yeast
  • high-temperature
  • organic-acids
  • corn stover
  • pig diets
  • d-xylose
  • biomass
  • degradation

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