January 1, 2010.
Biofuels are becoming more widespread throughout the United States as more advanced conversion methods become available. The most advanced process at this point is the conversion of biomass into ethanol (5). However, research into biofuels other than ethanol is an important aspect of the Department of Energy’s mission to promote the spread of renewable energies. Before progress can be made in these areas it is necessary to understand in detail the structural components that make up biomass including xylan, a polymer made up of mostly xylose. Xylan is extracted from biomass using either sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO); however DMSO extraction is the preferred method when analysis of the xylan structure is the final goal. In this study, different temperatures of DMSO extraction were studied with the objective of finding a faster more efficient extraction method. The temperature and time of extraction were compared followed by a basic structural analysis to ensure that no significant structural changes occurred under different temperatures. The resulting data showed that heating to 70 ˚C during extraction can give a comparable percent yield as a room temperature extraction while cutting the extraction time by ~90%. This method of heating was shown to be the most efficient method currently available.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)