A biomass pretreatment using cellulose-derived solvent Cyrene†
Despite only recently becoming available in the quantities required for solvent usage, the cellulose-derived solvent, named Cyrene, has gained significant attention in green chemistry in recent years. To fulfill the sustainability criteria of future biorefineries, a novel renewable biomass pretreatment using Cyrene and water was developed for the first time. Results showed that Cyrene has high potential as a green pretreatment solvent in terms of lignin fractionation/recovery and sugar release in the follow-up enzymatic hydrolysis. The mechanism of this pretreatment was revealed by investigating the structural characteristics of pretreated biomass, and the recovered lignin was also fully characterized to assess its valorization potential. Results indicated that Cyrene pretreatment could be performed at a mild condition (120 °C) to reduce the lignin condensation and the cleavage of β-O-4 linkages without compromising lignin removal and the following sugar platform. The successful utilization of this cellulose-derived solvent in pretreatment will further contribute to the realization of a “closed-loop” biorefinery process.