Hydration Properties of Briquetted Wheat Straw Biomass Feedstock

Heng Zhang, Maria Fredriksson, Jozef Mravec, Claus Felby

Abstract


Biomass densification elevates the bulk density of the biomass, providing assistance in biomass handling, transportation, and storage. However, the density and the chemical/physical properties of the lignocellulosic biomass are affected. This study examined the changes introduced by a briquetting process with the aim of subsequent processing for 2nd generation bioethanol production. The hydration properties of the unprocessed and briquetted wheat straw were characterized for water absorption via low field nuclear magnetic resonance and sorption balance measurements. The water was absorbed more rapidly and was more constrained in the briquetted straw compared to the unprocessed straw, potentially due to the smaller fiber size and less intracellular air of the briquetted straw. However, for the unprocessed and briquetted wheat straw there was no difference between the hygroscopic sorption isotherms, which showed that the amount of cell wall water was not affected by the briquetting process and that the sugar yield was similar after a combined hydrothermal pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. The factors which offset the benefits introduced by the briquetting process need to be further examined to optimize the processing parameters and enzyme recipe for better use of the wheat straw biomass feedstock.

Keywords


Briquetting; Water absorption; Wheat straw; Pretreatment; Enzymatic hydrolysis; Sorption isotherm

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