Improved biomass pretreatment techniques
The development of second generation biofuels requires the development of pretreatment technologies including cellulosic biomass and fermentation of sugars.
The use of ionic liquids to dissolve lignocellulose and later to facilitate hydrolysis to sugars is promising but faces very high costs. In addition, scientists know little about how ionic liquids.
Understanding how ionic liquids are able to dissolve lignocellulosic biomass is expected to find new compounds that may be applicable to biofuels.
American researchers of the Joint BioEnergy Institute have developed a new technique. Based on the natural autofluorescence of plant cell walls, this technique allows to dynamically follow the solubilization during a pretreatment
biomass with ionic liquids, and to evaluate the performance of the liquid.