A low-cost solid-liquid separation process for enzymatically hydrolyzed corn stover slurries

David A. Sievers, James J. Lischeske, Mary J. Biddy, Jonathan J. Stickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


Solid-liquid separation of intermediate process slurries is required in some process configurations for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to transportation fuels. Thermochemically pretreated and enzymatically hydrolyzed corn stover slurries have proven difficult to filter due to formation of very low permeability cakes that are rich in lignin. Treatment of two different slurries with polyelectrolyte flocculant was demonstrated to increase mean particle size and filterability. Filtration flux was greatly improved, and thus scaled filter unit capacity was increased approximately 40-fold compared with unflocculated slurry. Although additional costs were accrued using polyelectrolyte, techno-economic analysis revealed that the increase in filter capacity significantly reduced overall production costs. Fuel production cost at 95% sugar recovery was reduced by $1.35 US per gallon gasoline equivalent for dilute-acid pretreated and enzymatically hydrolyzed slurries and $3.40 for slurries produced using an additional alkaline de-acetylation preprocessing step that is even more difficult to natively filter.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-63424


  • Biofuels
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis
  • Filtration
  • Flocculation
  • Solid-liquid separation


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