STEAM EXPLOSION TREATMENT OF EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS WOOD: INFLUENCE OF OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS ON CHEMICAL AND STRUCTURAL MODIFICATIONS

Raquel Martin-Sampedro, Juan Antonio Martin, Maria Eugenia Eugenio, Esteban Revilla, Juan Carlos Villar

Abstract


This study evaluates the use of steam explosion (SE) as a pre-treatment of Eucalyptus globulus chips, aimed at making this wood suitable as feedstock in biorefineries or alternative processes such as biopulping. Several SE treatments were applied, modifying the following variables: previous hydration of the chips, number of SE cycles, and duration of the first cycle. Chemical composition and structural properties were analyzed after all treatments. Our results show that acetone and hot water extractives contents increased between 1.0% and 6.2% and between 3.6% and 7.1%, respectively, depending on SE operational conditions. Holocellulose content was also observed to decrease (9.4 to 15.6%), while the Klason lignin underwent a slight solubilization. Furthermore, greater water retention capacity and new bigger sized pores were found in the exploded samples. It is reasonable to expect that these changes would facilitate the subsequent implementation of chemical or biological treatments of the cellulose fraction in the biorefinery design.

Keywords


Eucalyptus globulus, Biorefinery, Steam explosion, Porosity

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