Steam Gun Arrival

Steamgun? What is that? This is a piece of equipment that is used in preatreatment of biomass so that Bio-ethanol can be produced. We have one arriving here early next week which is to be incorparated into our lignocellulosic research facilites.

So how does it work and what is its purpose? Let me start with its purpose. As I’ve mentioned it is used in pretreatment which in short opens up the biomass structure to  enzymatic attcack. Once pretreated, enzymes are able to efficiently attack the structure of the biomass and convert it into fermentable sugars. The fermentable sugars can then be fermented into bio-ethanol. Without pretreatment the structure of the biomass is basically inpenetrable and immune to enzymatic attack which results in extremely low ethanol yields.

So how does the steamgun pretreat the biomass material? It achieves this by placing the biomass under high pressure and temperature through steam addition to the material for a certain period of time. At the end of the pretreatment the pressure is suddenly released which cause the material to explode making it more accessible to enzymatic attack. This is in short how the steamgun works but I will have to explain it a bit more in detail the effect and advantages of pretreatment technologies. Hopefully soon I will upload pictures of our new steamgun.

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