Maro Publications



from 6/15/2012

Maro Topics


Patents with Abstracts

Biomass Applications

Renewable Materials



3. Biomass feedstocks (e.g., plant biomass, animal biomass, and municipal waste biomass) are processed to produce useful products, such as fuels. For example, systems are described that can use feedstock materials, such as cellulosic and/or lignocellulosic materials and/or starchy materials, to produce a product or intermediate, e.g., energy, a food, a fuel, or a material.

Biomass is a huge materials resource based on plants and other living organisms.  It is constantly renewing and a carbon-containing feedstock. carbohydrate-containing materials (e.g., starchy materials and/or cellulosic or lignocellulosic materials) with an unpredictable or variable composition. Often such materials are used once, and then discarded as waste, or are simply considered to be waste materials, e.g., sewage, bagasse, sawdust, and stover.

Medoff and Mastermann have developed a basic process to using biomass as a raw material for a variety of useful products.  The process starts with collection, grinding and analysis of the lignin content.  The lignin content is the determining factor in selecting the next treatment steps.  These include radiation, sonication, pyrolysis, oxidation and steam explosion.  Finally microorganisms can covert some of the product to alcohols, acids, salts and esters.  Eventually the final left-over residue can be become fuel.

8,877,467  (11/4/2014)
Processing biomass 


2. “The concept of using biomass-derived materials to produce other useful products has been explored since man first used plant materials and animal fur to make clothing and tools. Biomass derived materials have also been used for centuries as adhesives, solvents, lighting materials, fuels, inks/paints/coatings, colorants, perfumes and medicines.  Recently, people have begun to explore the possibility of using "refined biomass" as starting materials for chemical conversions leading to novel high value-in-use products.  Over the past two decades, the cost of renewable biomass materials has decreased to a point where many are competitive with those derived from petroleum. In addition, many materials that cannot be produced simply from petroleum feedstocks are potentially available from biomass or refined biomass. Many of these unique, highly functionalized, molecules would be expected to yield products unlike any produced by current chemical processes. "Refined biomass" is purified chemical compounds derived from the first or second round of plant biomass processing. Examples of such materials include cellulose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, sorbitol, erythritol, and various vegetable oils.

A particularly useful class of refined biomass is that of aldaric acids. Aldaric acids, also known as saccharic acids, are diacids derived from naturally occurring sugars. When aldoses are exposed to strong oxidizing agents, such as nitric acid, both the aldehydic carbon atom and the carbon bearing the primary hydroxyl group are oxidized to carboxyl groups. An attractive feature of these aldaric acids includes the use of very inexpensive sugar based feedstocks, which provide low raw material costs and ultimately could provide low polymer costs if the proper oxidation processes are found. Also, the high functional density of these aldaric acids provide unique, high value opportunities, which are completely unattainable at a reasonable cost from petroleum based feed stocks.” 

[Biomass, US Patent 8,426,528 (4/23/2013)]


1. “Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.

In the first sense, biomass is plant matter used to generate electricity with steam turbines & gasifiers or produce heat, usually by direct combustion. Examples include forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), yard clippings, wood chips and even municipal solid waste. In the second sense, biomass includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals, including biofuels. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil).”

“Biomass is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen based. Biomass energy is derived from five distinct energy sources: garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases, and alcohol fuels. Wood energy is derived by using lignocellulosic biomass (second generation biofuels) as fuel. This is either using harvested wood directly as a fuel, or collecting from wood waste streams. The largest source of energy from wood is pulping liquor or “black liquor,” a waste product from processes of the pulp, paper and paperboard industry. Waste energy is the second-largest source of biomass energy. The main contributors of waste energy are municipal solid waste (MSW), manufacturing waste, and landfill gas. Sugars and oils (first generation biofuels), such as sugarcane and corn, are used to produce bioethanol, an alcohol fuel. Alcohol fuels can be used directly, like other fuels, or as an additive to gasoline.  Second generation biofuels are less simple to extract or process, while first generation biofuels are more prone to escalating the Food vs. Fuel dilemma.

Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Rotting garbage, and agricultural and human waste, all release methane gas—also called "landfill gas" or "biogas."  Crops such as corn and sugar cane can be fermented to produce the transportation fuel, ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from left-over food products like vegetable oils and animal fats.  Also, Biomass to liquids (BTLs) and cellulosic ethanol are still under research.

The biomass used for electricity generation varies by region. Forest by-products, such as wood residues, are common in the United States.  Agricultural waste is common in Mauritius (sugar cane residue) and Southeast Asia (rice husks).  Animal husbandry residues, such as poultry litter, are common in the UK.”

(Wikipedia, Biomass, 6/15/2012)


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(RDC 6/5/2012)


Roger D. Corneliussen

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Copyright 2012 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
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* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 6/15/2012.