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Biomass pretreatment: fundamentals toward application

Valery B Agbor, Nazim Cicek, Richard Sparling, Alex Berlin, David B Levin
Biotechnology Advances 2011, 29 (6): 675-85
21624451
Development of sustainable energy systems based on renewable biomass feedstocks is now a global effort. Lignocellulosic biomass contains polymers of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, bound together in a complex structure. Liquid biofuels, such as ethanol, can be made from biomass via fermentation of sugars derived from the cellulose and hemicellulose within lignocellulosic materials, but the biomass must be subjected to pretreatment processes to liberate the sugars needed for fermentation. Production of value-added co-products along-side biofuels through integrated biorefinery processes creates the need for selectivity during pretreatment. This paper presents a survey of biomass pretreatment technologies with emphasis on concepts, mechanism of action and practicability. The advantages and disadvantages, and the potential for industrial applications of different pretreatment technologies are the highlights of this paper.

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