Staged organosolv pretreatment to increase net energy and reactive lignin yield in whole oil palm tree biorefinery

Md Khairul Islam, Amornpan Thaemngoen, Chun Yin Lau, Jianyu Guan, Chi Shun Yeung, Sumate Chaiprapat, Shao Yuan Leu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Pretreatment is the most crucial and energy-intensive unit process affecting the feasibility of biorefinery, especially when lignin valorization is of concern. This study investigated and quantified the potential benefits of an innovative staged organosolv (OS)-dilute acid (DA) pretreatment process for whole oil palm tree residues conversion. The staged OS-DA pretreatment resulted in approximately five times higher net energy (1.50 GJ/tonne) over the single-step OSDA process (0.30GJ/tonne) due to potential energy saving on solvent recovery and less water consumption. For sugar, OS-DA pretreated substrate achieved more than 90% of cellulose digestibility which was more than 40% higher than DA-OS substrate. For mono-lignin, significant reduction in crude lignin condensation (21.7%) was confirmed by two-dimensional NMR analysis. The overall mass balance showed that approximately 142.45 tonnes of bioethanol, or a net energy yield of 969.5 GJ, can be produced by OS-DA process from palm tree residues per hectare of oil palm farm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124766
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Biofuel
  • Energy footprint
  • Lignin condensation
  • Organosolv pretreatment
  • Palm biomass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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