Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 221–229 | Cite as

Alkaline-assisted screw press pretreatment affecting enzymatic hydrolysis of wheat straw

  • Qingqi YanEmail author
  • Yumei Wang
  • Wawat Rodiahwati
  • Antje Spiess
  • Michael Modigell
Original Paper


Screw press processing of biomass can be considered as a suitable mechanically based pretreatment for biofuel production since it disrupts the structure of lignocellulosic biomass with high shear and pressure forces. The combination with chemical treatment has been suggested to increase the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars. Within the study, the synergetic effect of alkaline (sodium hydroxide, NaOH) soaking and screw press pretreatment on wheat straw was evaluated based on, e.g., sugar recovery and energy efficiency. After alkaline soaking (at 0.1 M for 30 min) and sequential screw press pretreatment with various screw press configurations and modified screw barrel, the lignin content of pretreated wheat straw was quantified. In addition, the structure of pretreated wheat straw was investigated by scanning electron microscopy and measurement of specific surface area. It could be shown that removal of lignin is more important than increase of surface area of the biomass to reach a high sugar recovery. The rate constant of the enzymatic hydrolysis increased from 1.1 × 10−3 1/h for the non-treated material over 2.3 × 10−3 1/h for the alkaline-soaked material to 26.9 × 10−3 1/h for alkaline-assisted screw press pretreated material, indicating a nearly 25-fold improvement of the digestibility by the combined chemo-mechanical pretreatment. Finally, the screw configuration was found to be an important factor for improving the sugar recovery and for reducing the specific energy consumption of the screw press pretreatment.


Pretreatment Lignocellulose Screw press Enzymatic hydrolysis 



This work was performed as part of the Cluster of Excellence “Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass”, which is funded by the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments to promote science and research at German universities. Y.W. acknowledges support from Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) file number 201206740023.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingqi Yan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yumei Wang
    • 2
    • 4
  • Wawat Rodiahwati
    • 3
  • Antje Spiess
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Michael Modigell
    • 1
  1. 1.Aachener Verfahrenstechnik, Mechanical Process EngineeringRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Aachener Verfahrenstechnik, Enzyme Process TechnologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, Thai-German Graduate School of EngineeringKing Mongkut’s University of Technology, North BangkokBangkokThailand
  4. 4.DWI Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials ResearchAachenGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Biochemical Engineering (IBVT)TU BraunschweigBrunswickGermany

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