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One-pot integrated biofuel production using low-cost biocompatible protic ionic liquids


Transformation of biomass into liquid fuels is of great importance. Previous work has demonstrated the ability of specific ionic liquids (ILs), such as 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C2C1Im][OAc]), and cholinium lysinate ([Ch][Lys]), to be effective biomass pretreatment solvents. Using these ILs for an integrated biomass-to-biofuel configuration is still challenging due to significant water-wash related to high toxicity of [C2C1Im][OAc] and pH adjustment prior to saccharification for highly basic [Ch][Lys]. In this work, we demonstrate, for the first time, that a one-pot integrated biofuel production enabled by a low cost (~$1/kg) and biocompatible protic IL (PIL), ethanolamine acetate, without pH adjustments, water-wash and solid-liquid separations. After pretreatment, the whole slurry is directly used for simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) with commercial enzyme cocktails and wild type yeast strains, generating 70% of theoretical ethanol yield (based on switchgrass). The structure-performance relationships of PILs in terms of lignin removal, net basicity, and pH value are systematically studied. Techno-economic analysis (TEA) revealed that an integrated biorefinery concept based on this PIL process could potentially reduce minimum ethanol selling price by more than 40% compared to scenarios that require pH adjustment prior to SSF. Improvement of the economic performance will be made by reducing dilution and enzyme loading during SSF as identified by TEA. This study demonstrates the impact of a biocompatible IL in terms of process optimization and conversion efficiency, and opens up avenues for realizing an IL based efficiently integrated biomass conversion technology.

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Apr 2017, accepted on 08 May 2017 and first published on 11 May 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7GC01179B
Citation: Green Chem., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    One-pot integrated biofuel production using low-cost biocompatible protic ionic liquids

    J. Sun, S. Konda, P. Ramakrishnan, T. Dutta, M. Valiev, F. Xu, B. Simmons and S. Singh, Green Chem., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7GC01179B

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