Limitations of a laboratory scale model in predicting optimal pilot scale conditions for dilute acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse

Greenwood, Ava A., Farrell, Troy W., Zhang, Zhanying, & O'Hara, Ian M. (2015) Limitations of a laboratory scale model in predicting optimal pilot scale conditions for dilute acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse. In Bruce, Robin (Ed.) Proceedings of the 37th Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists Ltd, Bundaberg, Queensland, pp. 359-366.


Pilot and industrial scale dilute acid pretreatment data can be difficult to obtain due to the significant infrastructure investment required. Consequently, models of dilute acid pretreatment by necessity use laboratory scale data to determine kinetic parameters and make predictions about optimal pretreatment conditions at larger scales. In order for these recommendations to be meaningful, the ability of laboratory scale models to predict pilot and industrial scale yields must be investigated.

A mathematical model of the dilute acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse has previously been developed by the authors. This model was able to successfully reproduce the experimental yields of xylose and short chain xylooligomers obtained at the laboratory scale. In this paper, the ability of the model to reproduce pilot scale yield and composition data is examined. It was found that in general the model over predicted the pilot scale reactor yields by a significant margin.

Models that appear very promising at the laboratory scale may have limitations when predicting yields on a pilot or industrial scale. It is difficult to comment whether there are any consistent trends in optimal operating conditions between reactor scale and laboratory scale hydrolysis due to the limited reactor datasets available. Further investigation is needed to determine whether the model has some efficacy when the kinetic parameters are re-evaluated by parameter fitting to reactor scale data, however, this requires the compilation of larger datasets. Alternatively, laboratory scale mathematical models may have enhanced utility for predicting larger scale reactor performance if bulk mass transport and fluid flow considerations are incorporated into the fibre scale equations. This work reinforces the need for appropriate attention to be paid to pilot scale experimental development when moving from laboratory to pilot and industrial scales for new technologies.

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ID Code: 83830
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Pretreatment, Bagasse, Mathematical modelling, Bioreactor
ISSN: 0726–0822
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > APPLIED MATHEMATICS (010200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > CHEMICAL SCIENCE (030000) > THEORETICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL CHEMISTRY (030700) > Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics (030703)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities
Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 30 Apr 2015 23:17
Last Modified: 14 May 2015 05:51

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