Selectivity and delignification kinetics for oxidative short-term lime pretreatment of poplar wood, part I: Constant-pressure



Kinetic models applied to oxygen bleaching of paper pulp focus on the degradation of polymers, either lignin or carbohydrates. Traditionally, they separately model different moieties that degrade at three different rates: rapid, medium, and slow. These models were successfully applied to lignin and carbohydrate degradation of poplar wood submitted to oxidative pretreatment with lime at the following conditions: temperature 110–180°C, total pressure 7.9–21.7 bar, and excess lime loading of 0.5 g Ca(OH)2 per gram dry biomass. These conditions were held constant for 1–6 h. The models properly fit experimental data and were used to determine pretreatment selectivity in two fashions: differential and integral. By assessing selectivity, the detrimental effect of pretreatment on carbohydrates at high temperatures and at low lignin content was determined. The models can be used to identify pretreatment conditions that selectively remove lignin while preserving carbohydrates. Lignin removal ≥50% with glucan preservation ≥90% was observed for differential glucan selectivities between ∼10 and ∼30 g lignin degraded per gram glucan degraded. Pretreatment conditions complying with these reference values were preferably observed at 140°C, total pressure ≥14.7 bars, and for pretreatment times between 2 and 6 h depending on the total pressure (the higher the pressure, the less time). They were also observed at 160°C, total pressure of 14.7 and 21.7 bars, and pretreatment time of 2 h. Generally, at 110°C lignin removal is insufficient and at 180°C carbohydrates do not preserve well. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011