New US Patent Issued for ‘Fast Hydrolysis’ of Biomass without Adding Catalyst

 According to USPTO Public PAIR, a U.S. patent #: 9243303 has been issued to Zhen Fang (Kunming, CN) for technology that provides a simple and low-cost method to fast dissolve and hydrolyze lignocellulosic biomass with great potential for a novel biorefinery.

The patent entitled “Method for the dissolving and rapid hydrolyzing of lignocellulose biomass, device thereof and use of the same” was issued on Jan. 26, 2016 for work done by Professor Zhen Fang, Leader and Founder of Biomass Group at Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Fang stated, “I am very excited to have been granted this new U.S. patent containing such claims that provide protection for ‘fast hydrolysis’ process.

In previous work, It was found that by adding 0.8 wt% Na2CO3, actual wood without pretreatment can be completely dissolved upon fast-heating (7~16°C/s) to form a ‘wood solution’ at 329-367 oC at short reaction times (0.7-2 s). The ‘wood solution’ can be rapidly (ca. 15 s) hydrolyzed to sugars/sugar oligomers under homogeneous conditions.

Recently, Prof. Fang found that without adding any cayalyst, by putting lignocellulose biomass in pure water and rapidly heated to 330~403 oC, and then 89~99% of the lignocellulose biomass is dissolved and rapidly hydrolyzed to saccharide in 3.38~21.79 s. The following hydrolysis reaction can be carried out under the homogeneous phase condition for the dissolving of the lignocellulose biomass. At the same time, the solvated biomass could be easily used in the high pressure flow reactor to continuously pretreat the biomass and hydrolyze for producing saccharide, other biofuel and product. The present invention doesn’t need any catalyst and doesn’t pollute the environment, furthermore the process is simple and the cost is low, and it belongs to green and sustainable industry, and a good prospect of market application could be taken on.

The patent is the latest development in a 23-year effort by Professor Zhen Fang in the study of biomass hydrolysis process, aimed at a simple, fast and low-cost method for a novel biorefinery. ‘Fast hydrolysis’ process will be the technological key to economic utilization of abundant lignocellulosic biomass as viable feedstocks for the production of industrial sugar, ethanol and chemicals. His pioneering work opens the door, for the first time, to the possibility of developing industrial-scale technology at competitive cost for producing biofuels and value-added products from lignocellulosic biomass based on the ‘fast hydrolysis’ process in a flow reactor.

This patent is the third US patent issued to Professor Fang adding to its portfolio of 19 authorized Chinese patents that cover various features of biorefinery technologies after his returning to China in 2007.

 

非催化快速水解技术获美国专利

方真研究员发现,将木材或纤维素置于碱性或酸性溶液中,然后再将得到的混合物与高温水溶液混合,并以一定的加热速率加热至一定的高温,则可以实现木材或纤维素的完全溶解和快速水解。以该实验结果为基础,方真研究员发明的快速水解技术获得两项美国专利(US patent#: 9115215;8268126)。

最近,方真研究员在进一步地深入研究后发现:在高压热水中,不经任何预处理,不加任何催化剂,只需几秒钟时间,99%的木材可以快速溶解并水解。他设计并发明了一项装置,可连续、快速、大规模地水解木材,使得此项发现实现工业化生产成为可能。这一发现和发明,打破了常规催化(酸碱或酶催化)水解的方法和观念,为快速(几秒内)、绿色(不用任何催化剂)和省能(不用任何预处理)地水解木材,提供了一种全新的方法和思路。并将为生物质水解、生物冶炼为生物能源和化学品等下游产业提出一个新的研究方法。

该发明“Method for the dissolving and rapid hydrolyzing of lignocellulose biomass, device thereof and use of the same”获美国专利(US patent#: 9243303; issue date: 01/26/2016)。

这是方真研究员自2007年初回国后,在中国获得的第三个关于快速水解的美国专利。

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