From lignin to valuable products-strategies, challenges, and prospects
The exploration of effective approaches for the valorization of lignin to valuable products attracts broad interests of a growing scientific community. By fully unlocking the potential of the world's most abundant resource of bioaromatics, it could improve the profitability and carbon efficiency of the entire biorefinery process, thus accelerate the replacement of fossil resources with bioresources in our society. The successful realization of this goal depends on the development of technologies to overcome the following challenges, including: 1) efficient biomass pretreatment and lignin separation technologies that overcomes its diverse structure and complex chemistry challenges to obtain high purity lignin; 2) advanced chemical analysis for precise quantitative characterization of the lignin in chemical transformation processes; 3) novel approaches for conversion of biomassderived lignin to valuable products. This review summarizes the latest cutting-edge innovations of lignin chemical valorization with the focus on the aforementioned three key aspects.
Recent advances in biorefinery of astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis
Haematococcus pluvialis is one of the most abundant sources of natural astaxanthin as compared to others microorganism. Therefore, it is important to understand the biorefinery of astaxanthin from H. pluvialis, starting from the cultivation stage to the downstream processing of astaxanthin. The present review begins with an introduction of cellular morphologies and life cycle of H. pluvialis from green vegetative motile stage to red nonmotile haematocyst stage. Subsequently, the conventional biorefinery methods (e.g., mechanical disruption, solvent extraction, direct extraction using vegetable oils, and enhanced solvent extraction) and recent advanced biorefinery techniques (e.g., supercritical CO2 extraction, magnetic-assisted extraction, ionic liquids extraction, and supramolecular solvent extraction) were presented and evaluated. Moreover, future prospect and challenges were highlighted to provide a useful guide for future development of biorefinery of astaxanthin from H. pluvialis. The review aims to serve as a present knowledge for researchers dealing with the bioproduction of astaxanthin from H. pluvialis.
The U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 23 announced it will award up to $96 million for bioenergy research and development to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources. Awards will be made under seven different topic areas.The topic areas include:Scale-up of bench applications: Up to $28 million will be awarded to projects that reduce the scale-up risk of biofuel and bioproduct processes. The DOE expects to make six to nine awards under the topic area. The minimum award will be $3 million, while the maximum will be $4 million.Waste to energy strategies for a bioeconomy: Up to $18 million will be awarded to projects that address ways to use materials that are currently “waste” to make energy and new products. This includes strategies for municipal solid waste; wet wastes like food and manures; and municipal waste water treatment. The DOE intends to make seven to 15 awards under this topic area. The minimum for each award will $1 million. The maximum is $2.5 million.Algae bioproducts and CO2 direct-air-capture and efficiency: Up to $14 million will be awarded to projects that aims to lower the cost of algal biofuels by improving carbon efficiency, and/or by employing direct air capture technologies. The DOE plans to make five to eight awards under this topic area. The minimum award is $1 million, and the maximum is $2 million.Bio-restore: Biomass to restore natural resources: Up to $8 million will be awarded to projects that quantify the economic and environmental benefits associated with growing energy crops, with a focus on restoring water quality and soil health. The DOE expects to make two to four awards under this topic area. The minimum award is $2 million, with the maximum at $4 million.Efficient wood heaters: Up to $5 million will be awarded to projects that develop and test low-emission, high efficiency residential wood heaters. The DOE plans to make two to five awards under this topic area. The minimum award is $1 million. The maximum award is $2.5 million.Biopower and products from urban and suburban wastes: North American multi-university partnership for research and education: Up to $15 million will be awarded to developing innovative technologies to manage major forms of urban and suburban waste. The topic area focuses on using plastic waste to make recycled products and using wastes to produce low-cost power. The DOE plans award one project focused on biopower from organic wastes with $5 million, and one project based on waste to plastics products with $10 million.Scalable CO2 electrocatalysis: Up to $8 million will be awarded to projects that aim to develop low temperature, low pressure CO2 electrocatalysis technologies for generating chemical building blocks. The DOE is expected to make four to six awards under this topic area. The minimum award is $1.5 million, while the maximum is $2.5 million.The funding opportunity includes a minimum 20 percent cost share. The deadline to submit concept papers is March 5. Full applications must be submitted by April 30. Selected projects are expected to be notified in late July, with award negotiations expected in September. A full copy of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is available on the DOE EERE Exchange website.
The material basis of a sustainable society will depend on chemical products and processes that are designed following principles that make them conducive to life. Important inherent properties of molecules need to be considered from the earliest stage—the design stage—to address whether compounds and processes are depleting versus renewable, toxic versus benign, and persistent versus readily degradable. Products, feedstocks, and manufacturing processes will need to integrate the principles of green chemistry and green engineering under an expanded definition of performance that includes sustainability considerations. This transformation will require the best of the traditions of science and innovation coupled with new emerging systems thinking and systems design that begins at the molecular level and results in a positive impact on the global scale.
EIA predicts modest increase for waste biomass power capacity
US electricity generation from renewable sources is expected to reach 19 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021, up from 17 percent in 2019, according to the US Energy Information's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Jan. 14.Bioenergy capacity in the electric power sector is expected to reach 6,957 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2020, including 4,068 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total bioenergy capacity in the sector is expected to grow to 6,976 MW by the end of 2020, including 4,087 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 MW of wood biomass capacity.Across other sectors, total biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,560 MW by the end of 2020, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,698 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase to 6,571 MW by the end of 2021, including 873 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,698 MW of wood biomass capacity.The electric power sector is expected to generate 26.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass sources this year, increasing to 26.2 billion kWh in 2021. That includes approximately 15.4 billion kWh from waste biomass and 10.8 kWh from wood biomass in each year.Across other sectors, biomass is expected to be used to generate 29.9 billion kWh of electricity in both 2020 and 2021, including 2.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 27 billion kWh from wood biomass.According to the EIA, the electric power sector is expected to consume 0.231 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass in both 2021 and 2022. The sector is also expected to consume 0.174 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.175 quad next year.The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.158 quad of waste biomass in 2021 and 2021. The sector's consumption of wood biomass, however, is expected to fall to 1.371 quad in 2021, down from 1.385 quad in 2020.The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.039 quad of waste biomass and 0.083 quad of wood biomass in both 2020 and 2021.The residential sector is expected to consume 0.527 quad of wood biomass this year, with consumption staying level through 2021.Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption is expected to reach 0.428 quad this year and remain at that level in 2021. Wood biomass consumption, however, is expected to reach 2.168 quad this year and fall to 2.156 quad in 2021.