ST1’s particular engagement in Bio4Fuels is in pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification of wood. The aim is to transform woody biomass into soluble sugars that can be fermented to bioethanol.
"We are interested in a variety of primary biomass conversion processes”, said Dr Timo Leskinen from ST1.
The biogas laboratory in Ås, run by NMBU and NIBIO, contains a flexible steam explosion facility, which is used to pretreat biomass and open up the structure for enzymatic degradation.
“Our goal is to convert saw dust and we wish to test various pretreatment conditions that are of interest to us”, Dr Leskinen continued.
At the laboratory, pine saw dust is inserted into a reactor and steam added to exert high pressure and temperature.
“Following a rapid decompression, fibers open up”, explains Line Degn Hansen, PhD candidate with NMBU. “The saw dust is off-white, but changes into brown during the process, as lignin is released”.
By using different pressures and residence times, ST1 was able to retrieve a set of samples that will be further examined at ST1’s own facilities.
Read more about ST1's renewable energy work here (In Norwegian)