Michigan Technological University Sustainable Futures Institute
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931
Phone: 906.487.3612
Fax: 906.487.2943
e-mail: sfi@mtu.edu


A Systems Approach to Improve Processing Efficiency of Forestry Biomass for Co-Production of Biofuels and Biopolymers

Principal Investigator: David Shonnard
Sponsor: General Motors Corporation
Co-PIs: Sue Bagley, Patricia Heiden
Award Amount: $275,027
Project Duration: 1/1/2008 - 8/31/2009
Project Summary: This project employs an integrated systems approach for conversion of forest-derived biomass into value-added products using two direct routes. The first involves optimizing generation of substrates for enzymatic conversion and fermentation to yield biofuels, such as ethanol or butanol, as well as microbial-based value-added products such as biopolymers (e.g., polyhydroxyalkonoates PHAs). Research in support of the first route includes optimizing dilute acid pretreatment of forest biomass mixtures and the use of novel room temperature ionic liquids (RTIL). The second route involves removal of unwanted or deleterious compounds (using RTIL) and subsequent conversion of these byproduct compounds into value-added products through innovative polymer chemistry.


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