Mechanocatalytic Conversion of Cellulose to Sugar – CTS(TM)

Len B. Eddy and Richard Blair.
Alliance BioEnergy+, Inc., Orlando Florida.

An innovative cost effective way to convert any form of cellulose – wood, sawdust, small grain straw, fruit waste, grasses, etc. – into sugar, lignin, other products and fine chemicals. (Canadian patent 2705076)

A high level description of the CTS™ process includes three steps:

1. Hydrolysis

Cellulosic feedstocks are milled with a specialized ball mill and a non-toxic, non-corrosive proprietary dry catalyst triggering a reaction, which hydrolyzes the cellulosic materials to sugar and separates the lignin. The naturally occurring catalyst used is a common material present in great abundance around the globe. The CTS™ reaction is accomplished within 30 minutes, much faster than acid hydrolysis (~2-4 hr.) and existing enzymatic processes (̴ 24 hr.). If needed hammer mills may be used for a pre-milling process of size reduction to reduce the hydrolysis reaction times in the ball mill.

2. Wash
The output of the Hydrolysis process is then combined with sufficient water to form a slurry and to separate the lignin. A large tank with an agitator and a proprietary foam flotation method is used for this purpose. The water dissolves the sugars and the foam flotation removes the lignin leaving only the catalyst.

3. Separation
The catalyst is dried and returned to the start of the process for reuse, while the lignin is sent to a drier. The liquid carries the sugars which can be used directly for ethanol production or separated into C-5 Xylose and C-6 Glucose using a chromatographic separator. Evaporators are used to condense the sugars into syrup for shipping. Water removed by this process is recycled back to the start of the Wash process.

The production capacity of a CTS™ Plant processing 1,000 tons of cellulosic dry matter/day is feedstock dependent, but expected production outputs would be:

800 Tons of fermentable sugars:

500 Tons of C-6 Glucose
200 Tons of C-5 Xylose
100 Tons of other C-5 Sugars
200 Tons of Lignin