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Advancing the deacetylation and mechanical refining pathway for the biochemical conversion of sugarcane bagasse

Grant number: 22/08638-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2023
Effective date (End): September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal Investigator:Antonio Maria Francisco Luiz Jose Bonomi
Grantee:Fernando Roberto Paz Cedeno
Supervisor: Xiaowen Chen
Host Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:21/10566-8 - Integrated production of animal feed and cellulosic ethanol by steam explosion and alkaline deacetylation pathways, BP.PD


The deacetylation and mechanical refining (DMR) pathway for the biochemical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels and bioproducts has several advantages compared to the commercially established diluted acid (DA) and steam explosion (StEx) pathways. DMR generates a sugar stream free from fermentation inhibitors, thus enabling fermentation to higher yields and titers. Moreover, DMR does not require expensive pressurized reactors and generates a stream of lignin that is more reactive and suitable for valorization. Counteracting these advantages, the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) used in the deacetylation stage is a point of concern from economic and environmental perspectives. This internship project will be conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Golden, Colorado, United States) where the DMR pathway was created and is being further developed. The project will develop the DMR process for sugarcane bagasse, the main lignocellulosic feedstock available for biorefining in Brazil and the State of São Paulo. Furthermore, the project will advance the concept of a chemical-recovery-free process (CRF-DMR), replacing NaOH with alternative alkali that could be used as fertilizer after use in the biorefinery. This internship abroad will combine the expertise of LNBR/CNPEM in the biorefining of sugarcane bagasse with the experience of NREL in the DMR pathway, thereby advancing the frontiers of sugarcane lignocellulose biorefining. (AU)

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