After defending his master thesis at the group, he studied membrane bioreactor modelling and activated sludge viscosity as a scientific researcher. The separation of xylose and glucose is challenging due to their similar structure, size and charge properties.
PhD title: Integration between enzyme technology and membrane separation in biorefinery processes Lignocellulose is an abundant and renewable raw material with the potential to replace or supplement fossil resources as feedstock for production of various chemical products.However, in order to turn lignocellulosic biomass into valuable chemicals, several conversion and separation steps are required. One year later, he became a teaching assistant and started his PhD on the mechanistic modelling of membrane fouling processes. Background The biorefinery approach aims the highest possible value creation in means of down cycle raw material utilization. In this project particular attention is paid to MD and LMP for the treatment of different process streams. Simulating a membrane with helical ridge reveals the physical principles of why it works better than a version without internal helix. The pulp- and paper industry serves as backbone in the biorefinery approach, not only because of the usage of wood as feedstock but because of high production volumes. When gel layer formation on the membrane surface was prevented, the biocatalytic productivity obtained for the three biomass liquors was the same as for the pure model solutions. Additionally lab studies in the fully equipped membrane distillation laboratory at AEE INTEC in Gleisdorf shall be conducted with one of the promising streams, for either concentrating or separating valuable resources.
The first step is biomass pretreatment, which typically results in a solid fraction rich in lignin and cellulose and a liquid fraction rich in hemicellulose, which may be partly or completely hydrolyzed to oligo- and monosaccharides notably xylose.
Membrane separation processes combine the advantage of material usage of the components by partly selective separation mechanisms with energy efficiency measures.
Results shall be integrated into a database for further calculations with existing EES model.
As a final step, the enzyme system resulting in the highest xylose purification performance when applied to pure model solutions of xylose and glucose was investigated on genuine biomass liquors obtained from hydrothermal pretreatment of wheat straw, corn stover and Miscanthus stalks, respectively.
When gel layer formation on the membrane surface was prevented, the biocatalytic productivity obtained for the three biomass liquors was the same as for the pure model solutions. Also it is shown how simulating the fluid flow inside these installations helps understanding their behavior.
The main objective of this thesis was the purification of xylose from glucose present in the biomass pretreatment liquors. In order to improve the separation potential, we proposed an enzymatic process for converting glucose to gluconic acid, a value-added biorefinery product widely used in the food and pharma industry, followed by separation of xylose from gluconic acid by nanofiltration.
Simulating a membrane with helical ridge reveals the physical principles of why it works better than a version without internal helix.