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Applications of biomass-derived solvents in biomass pretreatment – Strategies, challenges, and prospects

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Bioresource Technology
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Biomass pretreatment is considered a key step in the 2nd generation biofuel production from lignocellulosic biomass. Research on conventional biomass pretreatment solvents has mainly been focused on carbohydrate conversion efficiency, while their hazardousness and/or carbon intensity were not comprehensively considered. Recent sustainability issues request further consideration for eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives like biomass-derived solvents. Carbohydrate and lignin-derived solvents have been proposed and investigated as green alternatives in many biomass processes. In this review, the applications of different types of biomass pretreatment solvents, including organic, ionic liquid, and deep eutectic solvents, are thoroughly discussed. The role of water as a co-solvent in these pretreatment processes is also reviewed. Finally, current research challenges and prospects of utilizing biomass-derived pretreatment solvents for pretreatment are discussed. Given bioethanol's market potential and increasing public awareness about environmental concerns, it will be a priority adopting sustainable and green biomass pretreatment solvents in biorefinery.