Dielectric barrier discharge plasma microbubble reactor for pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass

Alexander Wright, Hemaka Bandulasena, Christopher Ibenegbu, David Leak, Thomas Holmes, William Zimmerman, Alex Shaw, Felipe Iza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (SciVal)


A novel lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment reactor has been designed and tested to investigate pretreatment efficacy of miscanthus grass. The reactor was designed to optimize the transfer of highly oxidative species produced by dielectric barrier discharge plasma to the liquid phase immediately after generation, by arranging close proximity of the plasma to the gas-liquid interface of microbubbles. The reactor produced a range of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, and the rate of production depended on the power source duty cycle and the temperature of the plasma. Ozone and other oxidative species were dispersed efficiently using energy efficient microbubbles produced by fluidic oscillations. A 5% (w/w) miscanthus suspension pretreated for 3 h at 10% duty cycle yielded 0.5% acid soluble lignin release and 26% sugar release post hydrolysis with accelerated pretreatment toward the latter stages of the treatment demonstrating the potential of this approach as an alternative pretreatment method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3803-3816
Number of pages14
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number11
Early online date7 Sept 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sept 2018


  • biomass
  • DBD plasma
  • microbubbles
  • miscanthus
  • OH radicals
  • ozone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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