Coordinated development of leading biomass pretreatment technologies Academic Article uri icon


  • For the first time, a single source of cellulosic biomass was pretreated by leading technologies using identical analytical methods to provide comparative performance data. In particular, ammonia explosion, aqueous ammonia recycle, controlled pH, dilute acid, flowthrough, and lime approaches were applied to prepare corn stover for subsequent biological conversion to sugars through a Biomass Refining Consortium for Applied Fundamentals and Innovation (CAFI) among Auburn University, Dartmouth College, Michigan State University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Purdue University, and Texas A&M University. An Agricultural and Industrial Advisory Board provided guidance to the project. Pretreatment conditions were selected based on the extensive experience of the team with each of the technologies, and the resulting fluid and solid streams were characterized using standard methods. The data were used to close material balances, and energy balances were estimated for all processes. The digestibilities of the solids by a controlled supply of cellulase enzyme and the fermentability of the liquids were also assessed and used to guide selection of optimum pretreatment conditions. Economic assessments were applied based on the performance data to estimate each pretreatment cost on a consistent basis. Through this approach, comparative data were developed on sugar recovery from hemicellulose and cellulose by the combined pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis operations when applied to corn stover. This paper introduces the project and summarizes the shared methods for papers reporting results of this research in this special edition of Bioresource Technology.

altmetric score

  • 12

author list (cited authors)

  • Wyman, C. E., Dale, B. E., Elander, R. T., Holtzapple, M., Ladisch, M. R., & Lee, Y. Y.

citation count

  • 978

publication date

  • February 2005