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Mixed Feedstock Processing using Ionic Liquids


Researchers at the JBEI have developed a pretreatment technology using ionic liquids that efficiently extracts sugars from a combination of mixed feedstocks. Any ionic liquid used for biomass pretreatment or cellulose hydrolysis by thermostable cellulase may be used. Until now, no known technology could efficiently pretreat and liberate sugars from mixed feedstock streams. The JBEI technology has been successfully demonstrated in a mixture of softwood (pine), hardwood (eucalyptus), grass (switchgrass), and agricultural (corn stover) feedstocks. In tests, sugar yield reached 0.8 mg-ml within 6 hours and 1 mg-ml after a 24-hour period. The ability to recover a higher tonnage of biomass per acre where a variety of crops are present due to intercropping, row cropping, relay cropping and similar cultivation methods has the potential to significantly lower the cost of lignocellulosic biofuel and biomaterials production. A pretreatment that is effective on a wide range of lignocellulosic feedstocks will further lower overall biorefinery costs.
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