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The German Lignocellulose Feedstock Biorefinery Project

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Abstract

Well-known wood-pulping processes are optimized on the generation of cellulose while other constituents like hemicelluloses and lignin become denatured during treatment excluding their higher valuable utilization as compounds. The main objective of the joint project Lignocellulose Feedstock Biorefinery (2007–2009) was the development of a sustainable, integrated process for treatment and component separation of domestic lignocellulosic raw material, such as beech and poplar. All components (extracts, cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin) should be fractionized and conserved in a form, which allows further processing (biotechnological and/or chemical) for the generation of added-value products from each fraction. Pre-treatment and component separation on the basis of the OrganoSolv pulping process could be optimized in 1-kg-scale for the demands of the biorefinery and successfully transferred to a continuous process in 10-kg-scale with solvent recovery. Pre-treatments and component separations in ionic liquids are possible, but economically they are not competitive. The results of the techno-economic and ecological assessment showed that it is possible to run a lignocellulose feedstock biorefinery with a capacity of about 400 000 t/a wood in an economically and environmentally sound way. A conceptual design of a pilot plant was generated. Its realization and operation will become part of a follow-up project proposal. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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