Simple and Rapid Determination of Total Accessible C5 and C6 Content of Biomass Samples
The biomass supply chain is evolving to meet the expanding forms of biomass utilization. In particular to meet the goals to produce 60 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2030 will require a massive increase in cellulosic biofuel production. To produce 45 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuel will require about 530 million tons of cellulosic biomass to be processed and converted to fuel each year. To enable the efficient flow of biomass from farms and forests to biorefineries, the biomass supply chain will need to evolve into a commodity market similar to grains in todays food supply chain. Essential for any commodity market to function will be a simple, fast method of truly valuing biomass. For biochemical conversion of biomass to fuel and chemicals, such as ethanol or isobutanol, the key driver of value is the fermentable sugar content that may be derived. For the large majority of biorefineries, cellulose and hemicellulose must be broken down to simple, fermentable sugars before being converted to high-valued products. Therefore measurement of potential fermentable sugar content throughout the supply chain will allow stakeholders to assess value in a uniform manner. In this Phase I proposal, Carbo Analytics proposes to develop the key elements of a biomass digester and analyzer instrument that will directly assess the potential fermentable sugar content of biomass solids. The instrument will use primary methods to determine sugar content by rapidly digesting a biomass sample, separating out the individual sugars and quantifying them. This technology has immediate needs in the biomass, brewing, food and beverage, and animal feed industries. Current methods to assess the carbohydrate content of solids are very time and labor intensive, requiring multiple expensive pieces of laboratory equipment to be used sequentially. The proposed instrument will be simple and easy to use, allowing it to be used by a wide range of users and at key locations in the supply chain. Phase I will show a proof of principle from the highest risk technical areas: rapid biomass digestion, sugar separation and quantification. The performance of the new methods will be benchmarked against the accepted biomass characterization. Phase II will build a prototype instrument and field test it with beta site partners at national labs and potential early adopters in industry.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Carbo Analytics, LLC
PO Box 823 Fort Collins, CO 80522-0823
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