Engineering aspects of hydrothermal pretreatment: From batch to continuous operation, scale-up and pilot reactor under biorefinery concept

Héctor A. Ruiz*, Marc Conrad, Shao-Ni Sun, Arturo Sanchez, George J.M. Rocha, Aloia Romaní, Eulogio Castro, Ana Torres, Rosa M. Rodríguez-Jasso, Liliane P. Andrade, Irina Smirnova, Run Cang Sun, Anne S. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Different pretreatments strategies have been developed over the years mainly to enhance enzymatic cellulose degradation. In the new biorefinery era, a more holistic view on pretreatment is required to secure optimal use of the whole biomass. Hydrothermal pretreatment technology is regarded as very promising for lignocellulose biomass fractionation biorefinery and to be implemented at the industrial scale for biorefineries of second generation and circular bioeconomy, since it does not require no chemical inputs other than liquid water or steam and heat. This review focuses on the fundamentals of hydrothermal pretreatment, structure changes of biomass during this pretreatment, multiproduct strategies in terms of biorefinery, reactor technology and engineering aspects from batch to continuous operation. The treatise includes a case study of hydrothermal biomass pretreatment at pilot plant scale and integrated process design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122685
JournalBioresource Technology
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Severity parameter
  • Bioeconomy
  • Steam explosion
  • Liquid hot water
  • Pilot plant
  • Biomass

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