Initial design of a dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment process for aspen wood chips
- Cite this article as:
- Torget, R., Himmel, M., Wright, J.D. et al. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (1988) 17: 89. doi:10.1007/BF02779148
- 133 Downloads
A preliminary process design for dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of aspen wood chips in order to obtain fermentable sugars has been prepared and subjected to an economic evaluation. The process design was prepared according to experimental data on the kinetics of dilute sulfuric acid prehydrolysis and particle size effects obtained in this study and our previous work. The initial economic evaluation shows woodchips are 56% of the cost of production, whereas the reactor is only 4%, and the comminution operation is just under 10%, indicating that the process economics are extremely vulnerable to feedstock costs and are thus yield-sensitive. Although chances for major cost improvements by modification of the reactor design and finding alternatives to dry milling of aspen chips to small (20–80 mesh) particles needed for acid penetration and enzymatic saccharification are not great, design improvements of the process will necessitate development of a cheaper acid resistant pretreatment reactor and a less energy intensive comminution system. Experimental results on effects of particle size on the dilute acid pretreatment design are presented.