Chemical Pretreatments

Chemical pretreatment is treatment of the lignocelluloses using chemicals to modify the crystalline structure of cellulose and remove and/or modify hemicel — luloses and lignin (Taherzadeh and Karimi 2008; Zhu and Pan 2010). There are several reviews and chapter books which present and compare chemical pre­treatments (McMillan 1994; Wyman 1996; Galbe and Zacchi 2007; Taherzadeh and Karimi 2008; Alvira et al. 2010; Zhu et al. 2010; Zhu and Pan 2010; Mora-Pale et al. 2011; Hendriks and Zeeman 2009).

There are also some pretreatments referred to as “physico-chemical pretreat­ments”, where a chemical pretreatment is combined with a physical treatment. The physical treatment is typically a mechanical treatment (mainly size reduction) or explosion. The explosion can play a size reduction role in these processes. Here, details and progresses in the most effective and widely used processes, i. e., alkali, acid, and solvent pretreatments, are reviewed. However, this does not mean that other processes are less important. Understanding the mechanism and the details of the reactions may help for further improvement of the processes.

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