The cellulose recovery is currently near-quantitative and the lignin is recovered prior to any enzymatic hydrolysis and as such is high purity
At £2/kg, this is a particularly cost-effective class of ionic liquids for the fractionation and/or pre-treatment of lignocellulosic biomass. The biomass is separated into cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, which can then be used to make bioethanol (from cellulose) or a range of value-adding biochemicals. The cellulose recovery is currently near-quantitative and the lignin is recovered prior to any enzymatic hydrolysis and as such is high purity. Other advantages include mild processing conditions (atmospheric pressure), recyclability of the ionic liquid, compatibility of the process with 20-40wt% water and feedstock-flexibility of the process. Our cost modelling indicates that a scaled process with these ionic liquids will enable the production of cellulose at a cost of £210/tonne and lignin at £60/tonne – figures derived without ascribing any value to the hemicellulose. A patent application to protect this method has been filed. When contacting us, please quote the reference 6555.