Shock Pretreatment
Monday, April 28, 2014: 4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom D-E, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Mark T. Holtzapple, Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
In shock pretreatment, an aqueous slurry of lignocellulosic biomass is placed in a cylindrical shock tube.  In the gas space above the aqueous slurry, an explosive is detonated.  The resulting high-pressure shock wave travels through the biomass and disrupts its physical structure at the microscopic level.  As a consequence, the enzymatic digestibility improves substantially.  When combined with a chemical treatment, it is extremely effective and approaches enzymatic digestibilities achieved with ball milling, a very expensive mechanical pretreatment.  Because shock treatment is rapid and consumes very little energy, preliminary economic evaluations estimate that it is very inexpensive (~$5/ton).