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Short-Term Lime Pretreatment: Woody Vs Herbaceous Biomass

Rocio Sierra and Mark Holtzapple. Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, Chemical Engineering, 3122 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843

Lime pretreatment has demonstrated advantageous to importantly increase the digestibility of lignocellulosic biomass with little or no degradation of sugars. It has been amply studied at gentle conditions (up to 65C and atmospheric pressure for 1 to 4 weeks) and more severe conditions (up to 180C and 300 psig pressure with oxygen for 1 to 10 hours). However, no data has been recorded for short pretreatment at pretreatment times less than an hour. In this work, lime pretreatment is used on switchgrass and pine covering a temperature range between 100 and ~250C using oxygen and pretreatment times between 5 min and 6 hours.