Re ECF Project: ECF 2017-85

Project Title: Incorporating metabolites based organosolv pretreatment in reducing the recalcitrant of lignocellulosic biomass to saccharification in food/yard/timber waste treatment processes

Applicant: Dr. Shao-Yuan LEU, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Total Approved Grant: $1,152,800

Duration: 1/2/2018 to 31/1/2020

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

This project aims to investigate the feasibility of developing and adopting a few state-of-the-art pretreatment techniques to maximize the efficiency of the organic waste treatment facilities in Hong Kong. Saccharification is a critical step to the bioconversion of organic wastes, i.e., the large molecular-weight biopolymers in the plant cell wall like crystalline glucan is hydrolyzed to form rapidly-degradable carbohydrates for further metabolisms. The efficiencies of hydrolysis are affected by two factors, i.e., the biological and the substrate-related factors. Studies in Hong Kong have focused on the former for treating high sugar-content wastes; the impacts of the lignin induced inhibition to bioconversion, and strategies to overcome this problem, however, have not yet been identified. In this project, a few new pretreatment techniques to enhance the digestibility of the high recalcitrant wastes will be tested. Designed experiments, physiochemical analyses, and modeling works will be conducted to provide numerical information to the development for sustainable waste management. The merits of the project are to use the primary metabolites as reagents for low impact pretreatment, followed by biological processes to "recharge" the chemicals, which shall make best use of the facilities, excessive heat, and recovered resources.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
To be available upon completion of the project