South Carolina Patent of the Month – December 2021

Plant biomass is a great resource for chemical feedstocks. If you don’t know what a feedstock is, it’s any renewable, biological material that can be used directly as a fuel. This biomass is made of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin bound together in a gel-like structure using pectins, proteins, and ash. The limiting factor in using plant biomass as a feedstock is the need for efficient separation and isolation of these components. There are numerous approaches to this isolation, usually involving fractionation and then disentanglement.

Green Extraction Technologies have developed their own isolation method which uses a multistep isolation process.

  1. Pretreatment. The biomass is pretreated with sodium hydroxide which mechanically alters the fibers, opening them up into a fluidized biomas. 
  2. Fluidized biomass is subjected to high frequency pulses and shear forces which do not denature the individual components.
  3. Compressive force separates a liquid fraction out from the biomass.
  4. The biomass is again subjected to high frequency pulses and shear forces.
  5. Steps 3 and 4 are repeated again.
  6. The second liquid fraction is oxidized with hydrogen peroxide.
  7. Compressive forces separate out water insoluble components.

This leads to the extraction of hemicellulose and sugars from the first liquid fraction. The second liquid fraction starts off high in cellulose, lignins and proteins. The oxidation and compression remove these latter two components. The remaining fractions consist of cellulose. The effective isolation of these components allows them to be used as needed to create the optimal chemical feedstock.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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