23. Laboratory Pretreatment Systems to Understand Biomass Deconstruction

  1. Charles E. Wyman3,4
  1. Bin Yang1 and
  2. Melvin Tucker2

Published Online: 5 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470975831.ch23

Aqueous Pretreatment of Plant Biomass for Biological and Chemical Conversion to Fuels and Chemicals

Aqueous Pretreatment of Plant Biomass for Biological and Chemical Conversion to Fuels and Chemicals

How to Cite

Yang, B. and Tucker, M. (2013) Laboratory Pretreatment Systems to Understand Biomass Deconstruction, in Aqueous Pretreatment of Plant Biomass for Biological and Chemical Conversion to Fuels and Chemicals (ed C. E. Wyman), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470975831.ch23

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Center for Environmental Research and Technology, University of California, Riverside, USA

  2. 4

    BioEnergy Science Center, Oak Ridge, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, Richland, USA

  2. 2

    National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 APR 2013
  2. Published Print: 10 MAY 2013

Book Series:

  1. Wiley Series in Renewable Resources

Book Series Editors:

  1. Christian V. Stevens

Series Editor Information

  1. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470972021

Online ISBN: 9780470975831



  • batch reactor;
  • bench-scale reactors;
  • bench-top reactors;
  • continuous reactor;
  • flowthrough reactors;
  • heat transfer;
  • lignocellulosic biomass;
  • mass transfer;
  • pretreatment


Pretreatment refers to the process unit operation that is responsible for disrupting the naturally resistant structure of lignocellulosic biomass to provide reactive intermediates, such as sugars and sugar degradation products and so on, to biochemical or thermochemical processes for production of biofuels and bioproducts. Various promising pretreatment technologies have been developed through employing bench-scale pretreatment systems to obtain data that lead to new models and new insights on mechanisms, facilitating the development and commercialization of low-cost pretreatment technologies. However, the ability to design and select these systems in conjunction with bioprocessing of biomass a priori is limited, and detailed mass and heat transfer data are vital for the assessment and scale-up of these technologies. Batch reactors, including sealed glass reactors, tubular reactors, mixed reactors, microwave reactors and steam reactors, as well as continuous pretreatment systems such as flowthrough systems, have been widely applied to establish a fundamental understanding of pretreatment mechanisms, to investigate kinetics of thermochemical biomass deconstruction reactions, to provide process simulations for techno-economical assessments, and to improve reactor designs. This chapter discusses the applications and characteristics of different bench-scale pretreatment systems, mass and heat transfer in these systems, and the selection of bench-scale pretreatment systems.