The Impact of Particle Size on the Dilute Acid Hydrolysis of Giant Reed Biomass

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Datos de publicación:
Electronic Journal of Energy & Environment, Vol. 2, Nº 1, 1-9, 2014
Biomasa - Hemicelulosas - Catálisis heterogénea
Heterogeneous reaction systems, such as the dilute acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass for the recovery of hemicelluloses, are typically dependent of particle size which is considered as one of the most important variables that affect process yield and global production costs. In this work, the effect of feedstock particle size on dilute acid hydrolysis is studied using Giant Reed (Arundo donax), a Mediterranean energy crop with a high potential for the production of bioenergy and added-value products, as a model feedstock. Five different particle sizes (ranging between < 0.25 to 4 mm) were studied using previously optimized dilute hydrolysis conditions. Both the hydrolysates and the residual solids were chemically characterized. Hydrolysates always contained more than 32 g/L of total sugars (from which 93% are pentoses) and all the residual solids contained more than 50% glucan per dry weight of processed solids that corresponds to complete recovery of glucan in the solid phase. These results clearly show a selective hydrolysis of the hemicellulose regardless of the particle size fractions assayed. Actually, no statistically significant changes between fractions were identified, which is a further advantage for this raw material, as it enables efficient operation at higher particle size, positively affecting the energy costs and its upgrade within the biorefinery framework