Cost-effective Biomass Pretreatment Via Diamines and Polyamines

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Background
Diamines or polyamines are organic molecules that exhibit manifold physicochemical properties such as low viscosity and low to medium boiling point, both of which can be leveraged to enable the use of environmentally benign conditions for effective lignin removal.
Technology Overview
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a unique approach to the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass such as sorghum involving the use of diamines or polyamines. It is most applicable to biomass from agricultural residues, wood/paper/pulping, and grasses.
Preliminary results demonstrated that these molecules are capable of pretreating biomass in order to selectively extract ~50-80% lignin, while releasing >70% sugars from the pretreated biomass. This represents an ~5-fold increase in sugar release compared to the untreated biomass. Key advantages include facile lignin extraction from biomass and recovery (recycling) of solvent by vacuum distillation. Notably, the combination of higher lignin removal, retainment of hemicellulose, and improved sugar yields presents an opportunity for the development of highly efficient, low-cost lignocellulose conversion.
Stage of Development
Proven principle.
Benefits

Readily implementable and no large barrier to entry (i.e. reactors, chemicals)
Effective pretreatment solvents with several leverageable key properties
Achieves a high concentration of fermentable sugars while leaving residual lignin
Cost-effective recovery

Applications

Deconstruction of biomass into fermentable sugars and lignin
Biofuels, bioproducts, valuable chemicals

Opportunity
Available for licensing or collaborative research.

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