Feedstock/Pretreatment Screening for Bioconversion of Sugars and Lignin Residues via Deacetylated Disc-Refining: Article No. 52

Darren Peterson, Changyub Paek, Ling Tao, Ryan Davis, Xiaowen Chen, Roman Brunecky, Matthew Fowler, Richard Elander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent publications have shown the benefits of deacetylation disc-refining (DDR) as a pretreatment process to deconstruct biomass into sugars and lignin residues. Major advantages of DDR pretreatment over steam and dilute acid pretreatment are the removal of acetyl and lignin during deacetylation. DDR does not generate hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and furfural which are commonly produced from steam and dilute acid pretreatments. Acetate, lignin, HMF, and furfural are known inhibitors during enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation. Another advantage of deacetylation is the production of lignin-rich black liquor, which can be upgraded to other bioproducts. Furthermore, due to the lack of sugar degradation during deacetylation, DDR has significantly less sugar loss than other pretreatment methods. Previous studies for DDR have primarily focused on corn stover, but lacked the investigative studies of other feedstocks. This study was designed to screen various DDR process conditions at pilot scale using three different feedstocks, including corn stover, poplar, and switchgrass. The impact of the pretreatment conditions was evaluated by testing hydrolysates for bioconversion to 2,3-butanediol. Pretreatment of biomass by DDR showed high-conversion-yields and 2,3-BDO fermentation production yields. Techno-economic analysis (TEA) of the pretreatment for biomass to sugar was also developed based on NREL’s Aspen Model. This study shows that the cellulose and hemicellulose in poplar was more recalcitrant than herbaceous feedstocks which ultimately drove up the sugar cost. Switchgrass was also more recalcitrant than corn stover but less than poplar.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-86945


  • cellulose
  • conversion
  • DDR
  • deacetylation
  • disc refine
  • DMR
  • enzymatic hydrolysis
  • glucan
  • glucose
  • lignin
  • saccharification
  • sugar
  • TEA
  • xylan
  • xylose


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