Ferrous and Ferric Ion-Facilitated Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass under Anaerobic or Aerobic Conditions: Observations of Fe Valence Interchange and the Role of Fenton Reaction

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Abstract

Ferrous ion co-catalyst enhancement of dilute-acid (DA) pretreatment of biomass is a promising technology for increasing the release of sugars from recalcitrant lignocellulosic biomass. However, due to the reductive status of ferrous ion and its susceptibility to oxidation with exposure to atmosphere, its effective application presumably requires anaerobic aqueous conditions created by nitrogen gas-purging, which adds extra costs. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of oxidative iron ion, (i.e., ferric ion) as a co-catalyst in DA pretreatment of biomass, using an anaerobic chamber to strictly control exposure to oxygen during setup and post-pretreatment analyses. Remarkably, the ferric ions were found to be as efficient as ferrous ions in enhancing sugar release during DA pretreatment of biomass, which may be attributed to the observation that a major portion of the initial ferric ions were converted to ferrous during pretreatment. Furthermore, the detection of hydrogen peroxide in the liquors after DA/Fe ion pretreatment suggests that Fenton reaction chemistry was likely involved in DA/Fe ion pretreatments of biomass, contributing to the observed ferric and ferrous interchanges during pretreatment. These results help define the extent and specification requirements for applying iron ions as co-catalysts in DA pretreatments of biomass.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1427
Number of pages12
JournalMolecules
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-76370

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Cellulose
  • Corn stover
  • Dilute acid pretreatment
  • Fenton reaction
  • Ferric ions
  • Ferrous ions
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Metal co-catalyst

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