Ethanol production from ligno-cellulosic biomass is complicated by the recalcitrance of biomass to enzymatic hydrolysis. A promising pretreatment process that can increase hydrolysis rates dramatically uses an ionic liquid to convert crystalline cellulose into an amorphous state.
Process economics require recovery and reuse of the ionic liquid. Of particular concern is reducing the water content of the spent ionic liquid to an acceptable level. A number of processes for water removal are studied including evaporation, pervaporation, and stripping.
Process performance is dependent on water vapor pressure, fluid viscosity, and water diffusivity. The effects of these material properties on performance and associated energy and capital costs are examined.
See more of this Group/Topical: Forest and Plant Bioproducts Division