Enzymes and Lignocellulose Materials
Enzymes are biocatalysts that can accelerate a chemical reaction. As enzymes are proteins that are produced by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, they are “greener” than other chemical catalysts, i.e., having less environmental impact if used in place for other harmful chemicals in the same industrial process.
Lignocellulose materials include wood, grasses, farm crops and other plants. The major chemical components of lignocellulose are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. In nature, wood and other plants decay or decompose over time due to bacteria and fungi. In essence, it is the work of enzymes that are secreted by the bacteria and fungi. At Eco-ART, we learn from the natural process and design the enzymatic process for industrial applications. There are enzymes specific for degrading each component of lignocellulose materials, such as a cellulase for degrading cellulose, a xylanase for degrading xylan in hemicellulose, and a lipase for degrading lignin. Through an appropriate design or formulation and application in an industrial process, enzymes can work in the way you have designed to achieve a specific goal of a manufacturing process.
Greener Technologies for Pulp and Paper Manufacturing
In the paper manufacturing process, fiber-fiber bonding and paper strength property is a major focus for most paper grades. In particular, when recycled fibers are used for making paper, this is more important as fiber quality deteriorates over the manufacturing process and recovery and recycling process. At Eco-ART, we develop enzyme formulations and process technologies for modifying the fiber properties in order to improve fiber-fiber bonding, and hence, the overall paper mechanical strengths. Our products can also improve the pulp drainage, which can potentially allow for increasing the paper-machine speed. By using enzymatic treatment, the energy consumption in pulp refining can be reduced, or it is possible that the refining process is eliminated for some processes or products. We work with paper experts and our clients directly to develop specific enzyme-based technologies for each paper mill or paper product to achieve the optimal performance.
Bleaching of pulp not only requires chemicals but also generates wastewater having potential environmental impact. We develop enzyme-based technologies to help reduce the amount of bleach chemicals used in the process and improve the overall bleaching process efficiency. We have developed enzyme formulations specifically for kraft pulp bleaching, CTMP bleaching, and TMP bleaching.
Enzymatic technologies for Biorefinery
In the process of biorefining of lignocellulose materials, disintegration of biomass, or a pretreatment process, is essential for effective separation of the chemical components. Conventional pre-treatment processes are costly and consume a large amount of energy. At Eco-ART, we develop enzyme formulations and process technologies for loosing up the physical integrity of the biomaterials in order to reduce the energy consumption in a subsequent mechanical process. Our products can also improve the yield of sugars of the saccharification process. We work with wood chemists and develop enzyme-based technologies in combination with conventional mechanical processes, and we work on a variety of biomass including wood, wheat straws, corn stoves, and sugarcane bagasse.
Biotechnologies for Wastewater treatment
Anaerobic processes in the wastewater treatment, particularly for high organic loads wastewater, can produce biogas for energy recovery. In the process, breaking down the organic matters is one of the key steps. At Eco-ART, we develop enzyme formulations that can enhance the hydrolysis process of organic matters. Our products not only help improve the process efficiency but also increase the yield of biogas.
We also work with biologists and develop enzyme formulations and bio-based chemicals for eliminating odors in paper manufacturing from recycled paper. Odors are generated by bacteria that decompose organic matters in the pulp slurry, which include contaminants from recycled fibers such as food residues and paper additives. We develop technologies that target at decreasing VOCs formation and inhibiting bacterium growth. Our products can reduce odors from the manufacturing process and prevent potential odor issue from some paper products.