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Combustible renewables are playing an increasingly important role in today's world. Valuable products, such as methane, can be produced from renewable starting materials, such as biomass, by biological conversion processes. The term biogas as used herein refers to a gas comprising methane and optionally also carbon dioxide. A sustainable way of obtaining biogas is by the anaerobic digestion of biomass. One of the problems faced in anaerobic digestion of biomass is that lignin and lignocellulose remain stable under anaerobic conditions and thus cannot be converted.
The invention relates to a process for the production of biogas from biomass, in particular from lignocellulose-containing biomass. According to the invention biogas is produced from lignocellulose-containing biomass in a process, wherein the cellulose and hemicellulose in the lignocellulose are made accessible for bioconversion.
Second-generation biogas production. As starting material any lignocellulose-containing biomass can be used including agricultural waste (such as corn stover, wheat straw, rice straw, seed hulls, sugarcane leavings, bagasse, nutshells, and manure (e.g. from cattle, poultry, and hogs), wood materials (such as wood or bark, sawdust, timber slash, and mill scrap), municipal waste (such as waste paper and yard clippings) and energy crops.
The process of the invention enables to set the lignocellulose complex free and to fractionate the lignocellulose into accessible cellulose and hemicellulose, which can be further hydrolysed and converted into biogas in an anaerobical biological digester. Hydrolysis is not required in the acid thermal treatment step i) as the hydrolysis takes place in the anaerobical digester. In comparison to the state of the art the process of the invention therefore results in a considerable increase in biogas production and a reduction of invaluable non-converted residue.