Biomass Refining

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Science  12 Nov 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4573, pp. 643-646
DOI: 10.1126/science.218.4573.643


Processes for refining biomass from trees or from agricultural residues are fast approaching commercialization. Advances have been made in acidic and enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose component of biomass and in some newer processes for biomass refining which leave the lignin fraction relatively intact. Rather than low-priced fuels, which have received the most publicity, initial targets will be products with more profit potential, such as chemicals and molasses. Curtailment of government support for alcohol fuel programs is not crucial, because private investment is taking biomass refining from the pilot plant to the demonstration scale.