Investigation and validation of methods for the extraction of free sugars from agricultural raw materials and residues, evaluation of new technologies
Sugars from biomass are essential building blocks for the production of biobased chemicals. A comprehensive knowledge of their recovery is necessary in order to evaluate and develop efficient conversion processes.
As in conventional refineries, the first process step in a biorefinery usually is the fractionation of biomass into the individual components. Carbohydrates are one of the main components of plant biomass. In free form, their underlying sugar building blocks are essential intermediates for the fermentative production of many bio-based bulk chemicals. This conversion works relatively efficiently with carbohydrates such as starch from corn or sucrose from sugar beets, but to prevent food competition, these raw materials are of very limited availability for the biorefineries. Alternative sources of carbohydrates are cellulose and hemicellulose, the main components of most agricultural products, especially of harvest residues such as straw, chaff or sugar beet pulp.
But cellulose and hemicellulose cannot simply be transferred to the required sugars, since they are usually bound in complex, very resistant composite structures. For the efficient use of raw materials, it is therefore necessary to convert in free sugars by digestion techniques. For this saccharification physical, chemical and biotechnological processes can be used. In the past, various methods and integrated processes have been developed. However, due to cost reasons, these have not been implemented in large scale plants yet.
In addition to the analysis and evaluation of existing and new digestion processes, a focus of our work lies in the development and optimization of new digestion methods and method combinations for efficient saccharification of agricultural raw materials and residues. We take into account both the specific requirements of the substrates as well as the requirements of the biotechnological or chemical catalytic follow-up processes.
The central elements of our work are:
For this purpose, we use a variety of technologies and analytical methods:
Permanent task 1.2011 - 12.2025