Biomass & Bioenergy, Vol.122, 28-36, 2019
Bio-catalytic hydrolysis of paper pulp using in- and ex-situ multi-physical approaches: Focus on semidilute conditions to progress towards concentrated suspensions
In order to make 2nd-generation biofuels more competitive, high solid-matter content has to be reached. To progress towards this target, the mechanism for destructuring lignocellulose fibres in semidilute conditions has to be well understood, as this configuration shows the basic mechanism which limits transfers and efficiency. This study aims to delve deeply into the biophysical and transfer limitations occurring during enzymatic hydrolysis. A specific experimental set-up associating in-situ and ex-situ physical (rheometry, chord length analysis) and biochemical analysis was used to expand the knowledge of hydrolysis of extruded softwood paper pulp over 24 h under different substrate concentrations (1%-3%) and enzyme doses (Accellerase 1500, 5 and 25 FPU/g cellulose). Non-Newtonian behaviour associated with pronounced yield stress stand as the major factors limiting process efficiency. A critical time was deduced from viscosity evolution, and the existence of a unique, dimensionless viscosity-time curve was established, suggesting similar mechanisms for fibre degradation. In addition, chord length distribution allowed for the description of population evolution and was discussed in the light of in-situ viscosity and hydrolysis yield. Physical (viscosity, particle size) and biochemical (substrate) kinetics were modelled (second-order) and coefficients identified. A chronology of the encountered phenomenological limitations demonstrates the necessity of optimising bioprocesses by considering physical parameters. A reference feed rate is proposed in order to reach high solid loading under fed-batch strategy.