The University of Delaware Researcher Take Out Sugars from Wood Chips

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A researcher from the University of Delaware invented a technique that can extract sugar from wood chips. Most of the product we used in the daily life contain chemical made from petroleum but the experts from UD offers manufacturers a sweeter alternative to this fossil fuel.

The modern innovation could serve as less expensive. According to the GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer which stated that the greater part of buyers in the U.S. will pay more for environmentally friendly items.

Basudeb Saha is associate director for research at University of Delaware’s Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation led the project and involved scientists from UD as well as from Rutgers University.

Basudeb Saha said, “To make greener chemicals and fuel, we’re working with plant material, but we don’t want to compete with its food value”. Further, Saha added, “So instead of taking corn and extracting its sugars to make ethanol, we’re making use of the stalks and cobs left over after the corn is harvested, as well as other kinds of waste like wood chips and rice hulls”.

The wood chips, as well as corn cobs, may sound like low-priced and simple materials but it is harder to break down the materials chemically.

Basudeb Saha alleged, “The lignin that makes their cell walls so tough and sturdy acts like superglue, holding tightly to the sugars”.

The UD’s invented procedure is just one step which does not require a separate pretreatment step commonly used in bio refineries to disintegrate the lignin from the sugar polymers cellulose and hemicellulose. The method integrates the pretreatment step and the hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicellulose in one pot and operates at considerably low temperature.

Saha said, “Our process enables the economical production of feed streams that could profoundly improve the economics of cellulosic bio products manufactured downstream, not to mention the environmental benefits of replacing petroleum”. Further, Saha stated, “More than 10,000 million metric tons of carbon emissions were reported in 2010 from conventional fossil fuels and chemicals, which has a long-term catastrophic effect on our environment”.