Triple Filtration in One Pot Ionic Liquid Pretreatment for Biomass




Topic: Application of triple filtration in pretreatment and saccharification of ionic liquid



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Background information and significance

Different membrane technology methods have been used in bioethanol production process using one pot method of pretreatment. The difference in these methods is the impact, and the procedures followed. Depending with the objective of the approach used, membrane titration methods have both advantages and disadvantages. They also have different impacts to the environment, economy and the social relations. This proposal, therefore, seeks to explore triple filtration methods and the impacts that it makes on different areas that it affects during production of bioethanol.

Pretreatment is any treatment process that takes place in a substance before other processes takes place (Samuel et al., 2011). It is carried out so as to remove substances that are not required or may hinder the success of other processes taking place after the pretreatment. This process is significant in alteration of the structure of the ionic liquid biomass, in this case 1-ethyl-3-methylimidozolium acetate. The ionic liquid is composed of different layers that differ both chemically and structurally.

The difference in composition of ionic liquid makes the interaction and organization of the structure of the polymer to become recalcitrant to enzymatic degradation. It is, therefore, a significant process in making the ionic liquid accessible to the adsorbates that enhance the degradation process enzymatically. The cellulose lignin seal is broken down, and its crystalline structure is eventually distorted. According to Karki et al. (2011) this pretreatment process is carried out on the basis of a dilute acid. The acid is used in the recovery and concentration that enhances the extraction of sugars using triple filtration.

In this pretreatment process, saccharifiaction is applied to degrade the ionic liquid enzymatically. Saccharification is a hydrolysis process that involves the cleavage of chemically combined bonds through addition of water in which a substance is broken down into its constituent molecules. These two processes, therefore, stage an approach that describes how triple filtration is used in one pot ionic liquid pretreatment for saccharification in the production of bioethanol (Karki et al., 2011).

Filtration is a mechanical operation that is applied in the separation of solids from fluids. The fluids are either liquids or gases. The two entities are separated by interposing a medium that allows only the fluid passage. A technique in this field, triple filtration has been applied in the extraction of sugars from the cellulose. Considering the challenges met in other in one pot liquid pretreatment with the saccharification, triple filtration has been applied in several ways in bioethanol production. The water present in the cellulose lignin undergoes sequential triple filtration and is filtered from the cellulose medium. It is, therefore, a significant process in the solvent extraction that enhances the purification of the residue. The residue, cellulose undergoes purification to remove the molecular cellobiose impurities. These impurities originate from saccharification and pretreatment process and their presence serves as a hindrance to efficient production of bioethanol. Triple filtration, therefore, ensures that the residue is as pure as possible to enhance effective levels of production of bioethanol (Yoza et al., 2013).

Current challenges and limitations

Despite the fact that one pot ionic liquid undergoes pretreatment and hydrolysis for efficient and effective bioethanol production, the process is met with several challenges and limitations. These challenges include:

In the hydro state, the present enzymes and particulates are not removed. The enzymes and the particulates mix with cellulose in the pretreatment and hydrolysis steps of production. This affects the purity of the bioenergy which to some extent affects the yield of production of energy.

In addition, in bioethanol energy production, there is inhibition to accessibility of the enzymes during the pretreatment process. This hinders the conversion of cellulose lignin into glucose as there is a converse enzymatic degradation of the hydro state (Okushita et al., 2012).

The presence of a product inhibiting factor also continuously hinders the conversion of the cellulose and the solvent extraction of lignin from the ionic liquid in this case, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidozolium acetate.


The application of triple filtration method assists in finding a solution for some of these challenges experienced during the hydrolysis and saccharification processes. The objective of this proposal is thus to ensure production of bioethanol with minimum costs and high output whose adverse effects are minimal if not none. Prior to this objective, various strategies have been applied from triple filtration method in the pretreatment and saccharification steps of ionic liquid to counteract the challenges and limitations of these processes (Okushita et al., 2012).

Among these strategies, triple filtration is an effective method of reducing the crystallinity of the cellulose. This can be greatly applied in increasing the accessibility of the enzymes that enhance the degradation of the product cellulose into glucose. This favors the rate of bioethanol energy production.

In addition to this, triple filtration can be applied to reduce the inhibition of the product by removing the final product of the glucose continuously. The element that this process takes place in three steps makes it very efficient to remove any final product of the glucose that may hinder the output of bioethanol. The investigation of the inhibition of the product is done by use of membrane reactor (Samuel et al., 2012).

The method is also very applicable in delignification of the cellulose. Delignification is a process that involves total or partial removal of lignin from a lignin containing substance by the action of applying the appropriate agents. The extent in the concentration of the lignin is a decisive agent in determining bioethanol production from glucose.

Expected outcome and environmental, economic and social benefits

Economic benefits

Triple filtration reduces the cost of treatment of waste water. This is because the fact that water is being recycled using efficient and effective methods assures its purity that decreases the costs incurred in its treatment.

On the other hand, the application of triple filtration reduces the costs of the enzyme. Unlike other methods of filtration in the membrane based theory, this technique increases the accessibility of the enzyme during the enzyme degradation process. This implies fewer amounts of the enzymes are used which consequently decreases the cost of the enzyme input (Mori et al., 2012).

In general triple filtration is a cost competitive method when compared to traditional methods of bioethanol production.

Environmental and social benefits

The use of ionic liquids in triple filtration is environmental friendly. This implies that none of the by-products produced from the ionic liquid is harmful to environmental health. Socially, this creates an environment that is favorable for survival of all living organisms as none is endangered by the use of ionic acids (Yoza et al., 2013).

Moreover, triple filtration reduces the amount of water consumed. Carrying out filtration thrice implies high volume of the filtrate from which water is recycled hence reduced fresh consumption.

To enhance better yields, it is very important that the enzymes be improved so that the rate of conversion increases. Triple filtration can also be improved by adding a membrane reactor like the one used in Nanofiltration to remove the inhibiting product more effectively.


Karki, B., Maurer, D., & Jung, S. (2011). Efficiency of pretreatments for optimal enzymatic             saccharification of soybean fiber. Bioresource technology102(11), 6522-6528.

Mori, T., Chikayama, E., Tsuboi, Y., Ishida, N., Shisa, N., Noritake, Y., … & Kikuchi, J. (2012).      Exploring the conformational space of amorphous cellulose using NMR chemical   shifts. Carbohydrate polymers90(3), 1197-1203.

Okushita, K., Chikayama, E., & Kikuchi, J. (2012). Solubilization mechanism and characterization of the                structural change of bacterial cellulose in regenerated states through ionic liquid             treatment. Biomacromolecules13(5), 1323-1330.

Samuel, R., Foston, M., Jaing, N., Cao, S., Allison, L., Studer, M., … & Ragauskas, A. J. (2011). HSQC             (heteronuclear single quantum coherence)< sup> 13</sup> C–< sup> 1</sup> H correlation spectra of whole biomass in perdeuterated pyridinium chloride–DMSO system: An effective tool        for evaluating pretreatment. Fuel90(9), 2836-2842.

Samuel, R., Foston, M., Jiang, N., Allison, L., & Ragauskas, A. J. (2012). Structural changes in        switchgrass lignin and hemicelluloses during pretreatments by NMR analysis. Polymer Degradation and Stability96(11), 2002-2009.

Yoza, B. A., & Masutani, E. M. (2013). The analysis of macroalgae biomass found around Hawaii for         bioethanol production. Environmental technology34(13-14), 1859-1867.







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