Title

Concentrated Acid Conversion of Pine Softwood to Sugars. Part I: Use of a Twin-Screw Reactor for Hydrolysis Pretreatment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Abstract

The first stage of a two-step concentrated sulfuric acid process that converts softwood sawdust to sugars has been explored. The research focuses on the ability of an in-house custom fabricated corotating twin-screw reactor (TSR) to effectively break down and solubilize crystalline cellulose into low molecular weight carbohydrates. Based on design of experiment ( DOE) screening results, a four-level, two-factor experimental model building DOE was undertaken. Solid sawdust conversion to liquid, screw torque, and TSR exit pressure were measured or recorded at each experimental condition to yield percent conversion of solids, processed material viscosity, and material energy requirements. Thereafter, model quadratic equations were fitted to the experimental data and found to be statistically significant. Based on data obtained in the DOE the process was optimized to establish a base case operating condition. The acid-treated product made at base case twin-screw operating conditions showed a 38.2% conversion of dry sawdust solids to soluble liquids. The dry solids conversion reduced 73.8% of all hemicellulose and 44.4% of all cellulose to soluble monomers and oligosaccharides.

Publication Title

Chemical Engineering Communications

Volume

194

Issue

1

First Page

85

Last Page

102

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