Conversion of cellulose rich municipal solid waste blends using ionic liquids: feedstock convertibility and process scale-up
Sixteen cellulose rich municipal solid waste (MSW) blends were developed and screened using an acid-assisted ionic liquid (IL) deconstruction process. Corn stover and switchgrass were chosen to represent herbaceous feedstocks; non-recyclable paper (NRP) and grass clippings (GC) collected from households were chosen as MSW candidates given their abundance in municipal waste streams. The most promising MSW blend: corn stover/non-recyclable paper (CS/NRP) at 80/20 ratio was identified in milliliter-scale screening based on the sugar yield, feedstock cost, and availability. A successful scale-up (600-fold) of the IL-acidolysis process on the identified CS/NRP blend has been achieved. The sugar and lignin streams were recovered and characterized. Mass and material energy flows of the optimized process were presented. Feedstock cost for MSW blends was also discussed. Results suggest the promising potential of using MSW as a feedstock blending agent for biorefineries while maintaining sufficient performance and low feedstock cost. The bench scale (6 L) study is an essential step in demonstrating the scalability of this IL technology.