Biomass Fractionation Technology

Accessing Waste Straw

Raw Materials

As raw material we utilize agricultural byproducts such as:

  • Corn stover
  • Oat hulls
  • Sugarcane bagasse
  • Wheat straw

Primary Products

Only primary products extracted in high purities can be carried forward to direct enzymatic transformation to final products, which can then be isolated at low costs. Our primary products obtained are:

  • Arabinose
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • Xylitol

The lignin is conserved in a non-condensed form and comes in low molecular weight and is thus an excellent material for further chemical transformations.


The Process

Our approach transforms agricultural byproducts into high-purity end products (lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose) while the native structure and reactivity of the individual components is carefully preserved. Thus, the useful form of energy (exergy) that is initially stored in the material is not degraded but can be harnessed to drive subsequent reactions to high value final products.

We employ serial biocatalysis processes which enable multiple reaction steps in one reactor. By doing so, we avoid the isolation of intermediates, leading to significant energy savings in both the isolation and logistics of intermediates and significant savings in capital and operational expenditures.

Process steps:

  1. In our fractionation process, high-purity lignin is obtained first and can be easily separated.
  2. Then, we enzymatically release only xylose and arabinose, which can be easily filtered off from the cellulose polymer. Owing to their high purity, xylose and arabinose can be converted directly enzymatically to high purity end products.
  3. Thus, we avoid the costly purification methods which are inescapable when running competing processes.