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Particle morphology characterization and manipulation in biomass slurries and the effect on rheological properties and enzymatic conversion

Authors

  • Clare J. Dibble,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, Golden, CO 80401
    • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, Golden, CO 80401
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  • Tatyana A. Shatova,

    1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, Golden, CO 80401
    Current affiliation:
    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Building 66, 25 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.
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  • Jennie L. Jorgenson,

    1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, Golden, CO 80401
    Current affiliation:
    1. Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Engineering Center, ECCH 111, 424 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309.
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  • Jonathan J. Stickel

    1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, Golden, CO 80401
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Abstract

An improved understanding of how particle size distribution relates to enzymatic hydrolysis performance and rheological properties could enable enhanced biochemical conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks. Particle size distribution can change as a result of either physical or chemical manipulation of a biomass sample. In this study, we employed image processing techniques to measure slurry particle size distribution and validated the results by showing that they are comparable to those from laser diffraction and sieving. Particle size and chemical changes of biomass slurries were manipulated independently and the resulting yield stress and enzymatic digestibility of slurries with different size distributions were measured. Interestingly, reducing particle size by mechanical means from about 1 mm to 100 μm did not reduce the yield stress of the slurries over a broad range of concentrations or increase the digestibility of the biomass over the range of size reduction studied here. This is in stark contrast to the increase in digestibility and decrease in yield stress when particle size is reduced by dilute-acid pretreatment over similar size ranges. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011

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