Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemicals and biofuel from wood biomass

Date:
December 19, 2011
Source:
Aalto University
Summary:
A new method makes it possible to use microbes to produce butanol suitable for biofuel and other industrial chemicals from wood biomass. Butanol is particularly suited as a transport fuel because it is not water soluble and has higher energy content than ethanol.

A method developed at Aalto University in Finland makes it possible to use microbes to produce butanol suitable for biofuel and other industrial chemicals from wood biomass.
Credit: Mikko Raskinen

A method developed at Aalto University in Finland makes it possible to use microbes to produce butanol suitable for biofuel and other industrial chemicals from wood biomass.

Butanol is particularly suited as a transport fuel because it is not water soluble and has higher energy content than ethanol.

Most commonly used raw materials in butanol production have so far been starch and cane sugar. In contrast to this, the starting point in the Aalto University study was to use only lignocellulose, otherwise known as wood biomass, which does not compete with food production.

Another new breakthrough in the study is to successfully combine modern pulp -- and biotechnology. Finland's advanced forest industry provides particularly good opportunities to develop this type of bioprocesses.

Wood biomass is made up of three primary substances: cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. Of these three, cellulose and hemicellulose can be used as a source of nutrition for microbes in bioprocesses. Along with cellulose, the Kraft process that is currently used in pulping produces black liquor, which can already be used as a source of energy. It is not, however, suitable for microbes. In the study, the pulping process was altered so that, in addition to cellulose, the other sugars remain unharmed and can therefore be used as raw material for microbes.

When wood biomass is boiled in a mixture of water, alcohol and sulphur dioxide, all parts of the wood -- cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin -- are separated into clean fractions. The cellulose can be used to make paper, nanocellulose or other products, while the hemicellulose is efficient microbe raw material for chemical production. Thus, the advantage of this new process is that no parts of the wood sugar are wasted.

In accordance with EU requirements, all fuel must contain 10 per cent biofuel by 2020. A clear benefit of butanol is that a significantly large percentage -- more than 20 per cent of butanol, can be added to fuel without having to make any changes to existing combustion engines. The nitrogen and carbon emissions from a fuel mix including more than 20 per cent butanol are significantly lower than with fossil fuels. For example, the incomplete combustion of ethanol in an engine produces volatile compounds that increase odour nuisances in the environment. Estimates indicate that combining a butanol and pulp plant into a modern biorefinery would provide significant synergy benefits in terms of energy use and biofuel production.

The project run by Aalto University is part of the Tekes' BioRefine programme. Tekes is the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.

The Biorefine programme is developing new competence based on national strengths and related to the refining of biomass. The overall aim of the project is to increase the refining value of forest residues that cannot be utilised in, for example, the pulp process. The research has been developed by Professor Aadrian van Heiningen and Tom Granström and a group of researchers at Aalto University.

Results of findings have been published in scientific journals such as Bioresource Technology. The developed technology has been patented.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aalto University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shrikant A. Survase, Evangelos Sklavounos, German Jurgens, Adriaan van Heiningen, Tom Granström. Continuous acetone–butanol–ethanol fermentation using SO2–ethanol–water spent liquor from spruce. Bioresource Technology, 2011; 102 (23): 10996 DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.09.034

Cite This Page:

Aalto University. "Chemicals and biofuel from wood biomass." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219102226.htm>.
Aalto University. (2011, December 19). Chemicals and biofuel from wood biomass. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219102226.htm
Aalto University. "Chemicals and biofuel from wood biomass." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219102226.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins