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High gravity enzymatic hydrolysis of hydrothermal and ultrasonic pretreated big bluestem with recycling prehydrolysate water

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High-solids biomass (16%, w/v) treatment was carried out using combined hydrothermal and ultrasonic reactor.

High-solids enzymatic hydrolysis (20%, w/v) was studied using horizontal reactor with good mixing.

High glucose concentration (75 g/L) and glucose yield of 72%.were achieved.

Minimizing washing water and using recycling pretreatment liquor to increase water efficiency.


Enhancing sugar concentration and minimizing water consumption are key objectives for future cellulosic biofuel economics. To achieve those objectives, high-solids loading pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis (up to 20%, w/v) were studied. Big bluestem was selected and combined hydrothermal and ultrasonic treatment without chemicals addition was carried out in this study. Optimal high-solids loading pretreatment (16%, w/v) was identified in the ultrasonic reactor at 200 °C for 30 min. High-solids enzymatic hydrolysis (12%, w/v) was inefficient in the laboratory rotary shaker. However, using a horizontal reactor with good mixing is effective for high solids loading (20%, w/v), yielding 75 g/L of glucose. Minimum water to detoxify pretreated biomass while maintaining high sugar yields was 10 mL/g, which reduced by 50% as compared to the conventional washing process for steam-treated wheat straw. Recycling pretreatment liquor to treat the next batch of biomass was proved to be feasible without affecting the sugar yields.


  • Biomass pretreatment;
  • High-solids loading;
  • High sugar concentration;
  • Sugar yield;
  • Water saving

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