Recently, plant biomass has been attracting attention due to global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. Lignocellulosic biomass (i.e., wood, straw, and bagasse) is attracting attention as an abundant renewable resource that does not compete with the food resources. It is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin and is a potential resource that can be converted into high-value-added substances, such as biofuels, raw materials for chemical products, and cellulose nanofibers. However, due to its complicated structure, an appropriate pretreatment method is required for developing its biorefinery process. Steam explosion is one of the simplest and environmentally friendly pretreatments to decompose lignin structure, which converts cellulose into low-molecular-weight lignin with high efficiency. It has received significant attention in the field of not only biofuel but also biochemical production. Steam explosion involves the hydrolysis of plant biomass under high-pressure steam and the sudden release of steam pressure induces a shear force on the plant biomass. Moreover, it is a green technology that does not use any chemicals. Thus, a steam explosion-based biorefinery system is highly effective for the utilization of lignocellulosic into useful materials, such as ethanol, methane gas, antioxidant material, epoxy resin, and cellulose nanofiber.
Part of the book: Cellulose Science and Derivatives