Fitchburg, WI, United States

Biopulping International, Inc.

www.biopulping.com
Fitchburg, WI, United States

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Zhou H.,South China University of Technology | Zhou H.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Zhu J.Y.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Gleisner R.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 3 more authors.
Holzforschung | Year: 2016

The process sulfite pretreatment to overcome recalcitrance of lignocelluloses (SPORL) has been the focus of this study. Pilot-scale (50 kg) pretreatment of wood chips of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon) killed by mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) were conducted at 165°C with a dilute sulfite solution of pH 2 for bioconversion to ethanol and lignosulfonate (LS). The pretreatment duration was optimized in laboratory bench scale experiments with a certain severity based on a combined hydrolysis factor (CHF). The sodium bisulfite loading was 8% and the liquor to wood ratio 3. The pretreated solids were disk milled together with the spent liquid and the resultant slurry with a 25% solids content was directly (without detoxification) submitted to a simultaneous enzymatic saccharification and fermentation (SSF) with Saccharomyces cerevisiae YRH400 at cellulase loading of 35 ml kg-1 of untreated wood. At solids loading of 20%, the alcohol yield was 288 l t-1 wood (with a final concentration of 52.2 g l-1), which corresponds to a 72.0% theoretical yield based on total glucan, mannan, and xylan. The LS from SPORL was highly sulfonated and its molecular weight was lower than that of a purified commercial softwood LS, and therefore it has a high potential as a directly marketable co-product. © 2016 by De Gruyter 2016.


Zhou H.,South China University of Technology | Zhou H.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Zhu J.Y.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Luo X.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 11 more authors.
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research | Year: 2013

Mountain pine beetle killed Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon) wood chips were pretreated using an acidic sulfite solution of approximately pH = 2.0 at a liquor to wood ratio of 3 and sodium bisulfite loading of 8 wt % on wood. The combined hydrolysis factor (CHF), formulated from reaction kinetics, was used to design a scale-up pretreatment on 2000 g wood chips at a relatively low temperature of 165 C that reduced furan formation and facilitated high solids saccharification and fermentation. The pretreated solids and liquor were disk milled together to result in a biomass whole slurry of 25% total solids. The whole biomass slurry was directly used to conduct simultaneous enzymatic saccharification and combined fermentation (SSCombF) using a commercial cellulase and Saccharomyces cerevisiae YRH400 without detoxification. A terminal ethanol titer of 47.1 g L-1 with a yield of 306 L (tonne wood)-1, or 72.0% theoretical, was achieved when SSCombF was conducted at an unwashed solids loading of 18%. The lignosulfonate (LS) from SPORL was highly sulfonated and showed better dispersibility than a high purity commercial softwood LS, and therefore has potential as a directly marketable coproduct. © 2013 American Chemical Society.


Li X.,Central South University of forestry and Technology | Li X.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Cai Z.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Horn E.,Biopulping International, Inc. | Winandy J.E.,University of Minnesota
Holzforschung | Year: 2011

The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of oxalic acid (OA) wood chips pretreatment prior to refining, which is done to reduce energy used during the refining process. Selected mechanical and physical performances of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) - internal bonding (IB), modulus of elasticity (MOE), modulus of rupture (MOR), water absorption (WA) and thickness swelling (TS) - made from this OA-pretreated wood were tested and the effect of the OA treatment on carbohydrates investigated. The results showed that the OA treatment significantly reduced refining energy usage, and improved MDF dimensional stability and lightness. However, the OA treatment had a negative effect on the internal bonding strength of MDF panels. The amount of extracted carbohydrates was dramatically increased, up to 24 times, by the OA pretreatment. Carbohydrates extracted from wood chips could be a potential sustainable resource for biofuel or bio-based chemicals. This paper is a contribution to the so-called "value prior to pulping (VPP)" concept. © 2011 by Walter de Gruyter · Berlin · Boston.


Luo X.,South China University of Technology | Luo X.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Luo X.,Capital Normal University | Gleisner R.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 7 more authors.
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research | Year: 2010

The potentials of deteriorated mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae)-killed lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) trees for cellulosic ethanol production were evaluated using the sulfite pretreatment to overcome recalcitrance of lignocellulose (SPORL) process. The trees were harvested from two sites in the United States Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado. The infestation age of the trees varied from zero to about 8 years. Mild (170°C) and harsh (180°C) SPORL pretreatments were conducted. The chemical charges were sulfuric acid of 2.21% and sodium bisulfite of 8% on oven dry wood for the harsh and half of those for the mild pretreatment. The results suggest that beetle-caused mortality enriched glucan content by as much as 3 percentage points (or 7.5%) in wood. The glucan enrichment seems to increase with infestation age. The enriched glucan can be captured after SPORL pretreatment followed by enzymatic hydrolysis. The killed trees are more susceptible to SPORL pretreatment, which enhanced substrate enzymatic digestibility (SED). Enzymatic hydrolysis glucose yields (EHGY) from killed trees were about 5-20% higher than those from their corresponding live trees. Total fermentable sugar productions from dead trees (including a tree laying on the ground) were 4-14% higher than corresponding production from live trees, depending on pretreatment conditions and infestation age. An ethanol yield of 267 L/metric ton of wood or 69% theoretical value was achieved from a tree infested 4 years, 7% higher than the 250 L/metric ton of wood from the corresponding live tree. The results also demonstrated the robustness of SPORL pretreatment for lodgepole pine. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Li X.,Central South University of forestry and Technology | Cai Z.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Horn E.,Biopulping International, Inc. | Winandy J.E.,University of Minnesota
Tappi Journal | Year: 2011

This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of oxalic acid (OA) pretreatment on carbohydrates released from rice straw particles and wood chips. The results showed that OA treatment accelerated carbohydrates extraction from rice straw particles and wood chips. OA pretreatment dramatically increased the amount of carbohydrates extracted, up to 24 times for wood chips and 2.3 times for rice straw particles. Sugars released from the OA-treated rice straw particles and wood chips increased with increasing treatment temperature and duration. OA treatment also improved the primary physical properties of rice straw particleboard and wooden medium density fiberboard (MDF), except for the mechanical strength of MDF. Carbohydrates extracted from rice straw particles and wood chips could be a potential sustainable resource for biofuel or biobased chemicals.


Houtman C.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Horn E.,Biopulping International, Inc.
Tappi Journal | Year: 2011

Pilot data indicate that wood chip pretreatment with oxalic acid reduced the specific energy required to make thermomechanical pulp. A combined oxalic acid/bisulfite treatment resulted in 21% refiner energy savings and 13% increase in brightness for aspen. A low level of oxalic acid treatment was effective for spruce. Energy savings of 30% was observed with no significant change in strength properties. Adding bisulfite did not significantly increase the brightness of the spruce pulp. For pine, the optimum treatment was a moderate level of oxalic acid, which resulted in 34% energy savings and an increase in strength properties. For all of these treatments 1-3 w/w % carbohydrates were recovered, which can be fermented to produce ethanol. The extract sugar solution contained significant quantities of arabinose.


Zhou H.,South China University of Technology | Zhou H.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Leu S.-Y.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Leu S.-Y.,Hong Kong Polytechnic University | And 6 more authors.
RSC Advances | Year: 2014

Mountain pine beetle killed lodgepole pine wood chips were pretreated by SPORL (Sulfite Pretreatment to Overcome the Recalcitrance of Lignocelluloses) at 180 °C for 25 min and 165 °C for 75 min using the same chemical loadings, which represent the same pretreatment severity. The pretreated whole slurries were used to produce lignosulfonate and ethanol through simultaneous enzymatic saccharification and combined fermentation (SSCombF) up to solid loadings of 18% without detoxification. Low temperature pretreatment reduced furan formation, which facilitated ethanol production as measured by ethanol productivity and sugar consumption. The improved carbohydrate yields at 165 °C also produced high ethanol yields (liter per tonne wood) at all SSCombF solids loadings. An ethanol yield and titer of 306 L per tonne wood, or approximately 72% theoretical, and 47.1 g L-1, respectively, were achieved without detoxification at 165 °C. Lignosulfonates (LS) produced from the two SPORL runs are highly sulfonated but have lower molecular weight than a commercial high purity softwood LS. Both infrared and NMR spectra of LS from SPORL treated wood chips were compared with those of the commercial LS. The LSs from SPORL treated wood chips were found to have better dispersion properties than the commercial LS. This journal is © the Partner Organisations 2014.


Zhu J.Y.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Zhu J.Y.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Luo X.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Luo X.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | And 5 more authors.
Tappi Journal | Year: 2011

This study applied Sulfite Pretreatment to Overcome Recalcitrance of Lignocelluloses (SPORL) to evaluate the potential of mountain pine beetle-killed lodgepole pine for ethanol production using conventional Saccharomyces cerevisiae without hydrolysate detoxification. The results indicate that the beetle-killed trees are more susceptible to SPORL pretreatment than live trees in addition to having enriched glucan and mannan content as reported in the literature. Ethanol yields of 200 and 250 L/metric ton wood were achieved from a live tree and a dead tree (four years after infestation) without process optimization. Ethanol yield of 220 L/metric ton of wood was obtained from a downed tree with more advanced decomposition, which is approximately 10% more than that from a corresponding live tree. Process mass and energy balance analyses suggest that net ethanol energy output (before distillation, lignin energy excluded) from the decomposing tree was approximately 3.2 GJ/metric ton wood, which is 23% more than that from a corresponding live tree. The study demonstrated the robustness of the SPORL process and the utility of beetle-killed trees for cellulosic ethanol production even after many years post mortality.


Grant
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 400.00K | Year: 2010

The SPORL process consists of reacting wood chips with a solution of calcium, magnesium, or sulfite at elevated temperatures for a short time, and then size reducing the resulting material using a disk refiner to generate fibrous substrate for subsequent saccharification and fermentation. The work is a collaborative effort between industry, university, and federal agencies. Forest biomass is a very important feedstock for the future bioeconomy for the rural United States because of its availability in large quantities, flexible harvesting schedule that eases storage, and low cost for transportation due to high density and low ash content. About 30 percent of the projected annual sustainable available biomass is forest biomass based on the billion ton study. To meet local rural United States bioenergy needs and promote biodiversity, forest biomass will be an important integral part of the biomass feedstock supply. However, forest biomass, especially softwood, is very difficult to convert biochemically to fermentable sugars for cellulosic ethanol or biofuel production due to its strong physical integrity and chemical recalcitrance. The goal of this project in Phase II is to prove this commercially deployable technology for forest biomass bioconversion to produce cellulosic ethanol and lignin bioproducts at the pilot scale. The research proposed will create an opportunity for rural economic development through sustainable green energy production. While the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol is nonexistent currently in the United States, it expected that about 500 biorefineries will be built in the next 15 years to meet goal of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol set by the advanced fuel standard in the EISA of 2007. The development of this future biorefining industry will take place primarily in the rural areas where large quantities of biomass feedstock are available at a low cost. Producing ethanol from cellulose promises to greatly increase the volume of fuel ethanol that can be produced in the United States. That will not only benefit the United States, but could help poorer nations by reducing fuel cost. With the ever increasing occurrence and intensity of forest fires, large volume and high value utilization of forest thinning materials is critical to mitigate the very expensive cost for forest thinning operations to reduce fuel loadings. The woody biomass form forest thinnings meet the advanced fuel standard. The SPORL technology provides a viable avenue for utilization of the thinning materials, which makes thinning and healthy forest management operation sustainable. This will enhance our biofuel resource base by providing new feedstock. Therefore, the proposed research has the potential to enhance international competitiveness of American agriculture, enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of rural and farm economics, support increased economic opportunities and improved quality of life in rural America, and protect and enhance the Nation's natural resources base and environment.


Grant
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 80.00K | Year: 2009

Woody biomass is a very important feedstock for the future bioeconomy for the rural US for its availability in large quantities, ease in storage, and low cost for transportation. However, woody biomass, especially softwood, is the most difficult to convert biochemically to fermentable sugars due to its strong physical integrity and chemical recalcitrance. The goal of this project is to develop a commercially deployable technology for woody biomass bioconversion to produce ethanol or specialty chemicals. The proposed technology, SPORL, showed superior performance in preliminary laboratory study to achieve over ninty percent softwood cellulose conversion to glucose in forty hours with normal enzyme dosage even when pretreatment is directly applied to wood chips without size reduction. The SPORL process can utilize existing technologies in the pulp and paper industry for commercialization, therefore it has low technological and environmental risks. With the continued decline of the US pulp and paper industry and shutting down many pulp and paper mills, many highly paid manufacturing jobs in rural US have being lost, which caused severe economic hardship and stress for rural US. The proposed technology can provide unlimited opportunities for those displaced people in rural pulp and paper mill towns to move into the biotechnology industry with a bright future. Furthermore, the proposed technology provides a viable avenue for value added utilization of underutilized forests and related resources, such as those from thinning of overpopulated forests. These underutilized forest resources have become a hazard and caused many catastrophic fires that have severely threatened the health of forest land and ecosystems in the last a couple of decades.

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