High solids enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated lignocellulosic materials with a powerful stirrer concept
In this study, we present a powerful stirred tank reactor system that can efficiently hydrolyse lignocellulosic material at high solid content to produce hydrolysates with glucose concentration > 100 g/kg. As lignocellulosic substrates alkaline-pretreated wheat straw and organosolv-pretreated beech wood were used. The developed vertical reactor was equipped with a segmented helical stirrer, which was specially designed for high biomass hydrolysis. The stirrer was characterised according to mixing behaviour and power input. To minimise the cellulase dosage, a response surface plan was used. With the empirical relationship between glucose yield, cellulase loading and solid content, the minimal cellulase dosage was calculated to reach at least 70 % yield at high glucose and high substrate concentrations within 48 h. The optimisation resulted in a minimal enzyme dosage of 30 FPU/g dry matter (DM) for the hydrolysis of wheat straw and 20 FPU/g DM for the hydrolysis of beech wood. By transferring the hydrolysis reaction from shaking flasks to the stirred tank reactor, the glucose yields could be increased. Using the developed stirred tank reactor system, alkaline-pretreated wheat straw could be converted to 110 g/kg glucose (76 %) at a solid content of 20%(w/w) after 48 h. Organosolv-pretreated beech wood could be efficiently hydrolysed even at 30 % (w/w) DM, giving 150 g/kg glucose (72 %).