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Catalytic Fractionation of Biomass in Ionic Liquids

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-10ER85848
Agency Tracking Number: 95537
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 22 b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000161
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-03-18
Small Business Information
32 Audubon Place
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
United States
DUNS: 168844087
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Gabriela Gurau
 (205) 239-0892
Business Contact
 Gabriela Gurau
Title: Dr.
Phone: (205) 239-0892
Research Institution

Lignocellulose has a remarkable resistance against chemicals and microbial attacks due to its complex structure. For the production of biofuels and chemicals the aim is to cleanly fractionate biomass and to utilize the lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose individually. The current pretreatment methods are either energy intensive or cause severe degradation of the components. A more efficient pretreatment method for biomass fractionation is in great demand which requires low energy, modest conditions, and recyclable solvents. New and efficient solvents and process technologies are needed to help unlock the promise of lignocellulosic biomass, and in this regard, the field of ionic liquids (ILs) might live up to its tremendous potential as a new class of solvents by direct dissolution of the components of biomass with mild conditions. By using a selected catalyst to break the lignin-carbohydrate bonds, clean separation of the three major components is possible based on IL processes. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The immediate outcomes will be used to selectively cleave lignocellulosic bonds allowing the ready isolation of pure cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose fractions and thus overcoming one of the Grand Challenges in the utilization of lignocellulosic biomass. This could have profound effects on the availability of reproducible biomass feedstocks for further chemical processing and lead to additional utilization of these biopolymers in advanced materials

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