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Membrane Filtration: Concentration and Purification of Hydrolyzates from Biomass

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Sugars, acetic acid and other chemicals in aqueous biomass hydrolyzate can be separated by Nano-Filtration (NF) membranes. Fractionation of the complex hydrolyzate to platform chemicals is a key step in a biorefinery. Sugars can be concentrated, separated and/or cleaned and then utilized as fermentation feedstock. A mathematical model relating the permeate flow rate and the pressure drop has been derived based on flow through porous media coupled with the osmotic pressure. Experimental data on the filtration of hot-water wood extracts showed good agreement with the model. Experimental data revealed that there is a minimum pressure drop, i.e., the osmotic pressure, at which no permeate flow is found. The permeate flow rate increases with increasing pressure drop and decreases with increasing extract concentration. For the membrane having a molecular weight cut-off of 100 g/mol, sugars, polysaccharides and aromatics are preferentially retained in the concentrate stream. Acetic acid, methanol, furfural, hydrolxymethylfurfural and formic acid are preferentially removed to the permeate stream. Thus, sugars can be cleaned and concentrated with the NF-membrane.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • The goal of the creation of a biobased economy is challenging to agriculture, forestry, academia, government and industry. The extractable resources of the Earth are finite, regardless of the quibble over when they will be depleted. The economic, political and social demands for biobased chemicals, materials and energy are expected to radically transform the materials industries, particularly the plastics industry as well as the biofuel industry. These changes will be based on the principles of sustainability, eco-efficiency, industrial ecology, and green chemistry and engineering. In keeping with the growth of knowledge in this field, there is a strong need for a forum to share original research related to biobased materials and bioenergy. The Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (JBMB) has been created as an international peer-reviewed periodical to fulfill the need for communication in these research areas. This journal will encompass related research activities in all fields of science, engineering and the life sciences.
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