Fuel production from AFEXTM pretreated biomass: current status and future perspectives
Tuesday, April 29, 2014: 8:00 AM
Grand Ballroom D-E, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Mingjie Jin1, Venkatesh Balan2, Cory Sarks1, Leonardo Sousa3, Christa Gunawan1, Saisi Xue1, Yaping Xue4, Andrea Orjuela1 and Bruce Dale3, (1)Chemical Engineering and Materials Science,Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, (2)Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science,, Michigan State University and University of Pune, Lansing, MI, (3)Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Lansing, MI, (4)Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI
Ammonia Fiber Expansion (AFEXTM) is one of the leading pretreatment technologies, which has been scaled up to a pilot scale (1 ton per day) by MBI, International. The successful demonstration of AFEX pretreatment at the pilot scale is paving the way for AFEX commercialization. An AFEX pretreated biomass commodity can be directly used as animal feed or be enzymatically converted to fermentable sugars which could be further converted to various fuels and chemicals through microbial fermentation. This talk will cover the progress we made in the past six years towards fuel production from AFEX pretreated biomass.

First, we compared results with SHF (separate hydrolysis and fermentation), SSCF (simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation) and CBP (consolidated bioprocessing) on AFEX pretreated biomass. Second, based on these results, we invented the RaBIT (Rapid Bioconversion with Integrated recycle Technology) platform technology for AFEX pretreated biomass conversion. RaBIT features rapid enzymatic hydrolysis (<24 h), rapid fermentation (<24 h), efficient enzyme recycling, and yeast cell recycling. High capital cost and high enzyme cost are two major bottlenecks impeding commercialization of lignocellulosic biofuels. The RaBIT process reduces enzyme loading by up to ~50% and enhances ethanol productivity by ~3 times (and hence reduces capital cost). Third, we explored high solids loadings (> 25% solids loading) which are needed for industrial-scale lignocellulosic biomass processing. In-situ ethanol removal enables biomass sugar conversions greater than 90%, even at over 25% total solids loadings. The accumulation of oligomeric sugars was also alleviated.

AFEX is a trademark of MBI, Lansing, Michigan.