The implementation of biorefineries based on lignocellulosic materials as an alternative to fossil-based refineries calls for efficient methods for fractionation and recovery of the products. The focus for the biorefinery concept for utilisation of biomass has shifted, from design of more or less energy-driven biorefineries, to much more versatile facilities where chemicals and energy carriers can be produced. The sugar-based biorefinery platform requires pretreatment of lignocellulosic materials, which can be very recalcitrant, to improve further processing through enzymatic hydrolysis, and for other downstream unit operations. This review summarises the development in the field of pretreatment (and to some extent, of fractionation) of various lignocellulosic materials. The number of publications indicates that biomass pretreatment plays a very important role for the biorefinery concept to be realised in full scale. The traditional pretreatment methods, for example, steam pretreatment (explosion), organosolv and hydrothermal treatment are covered in the review. In addition, the rapidly increasing interest for chemical treatment employing ionic liquids and deep-eutectic solvents are discussed and reviewed. It can be concluded that the huge variation of lignocellulosic materials makes it difficult to find a general process design for a biorefinery. Therefore, it is difficult to define "the best pretreatment" method. In the end, this depends on the proposed application, and any recommendation of a suitable pretreatment method must be based on a thorough techno-economic evaluation.
- Kemiska processer