Selected Process Alternatives for Biomass Refining: A Review

Patricia Gullón, Enma Conde, Andrés Moure, Herminia Domínguez, Juan Carlos Parajó*
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Vigo (Campus Ourense). As Lagoas. 32004 Ourense. Spain, and CITI-Tecnopole, San Ciprián de Viñas, Ourense, Spain

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© 2010 Gullón et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this autor at the Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain; Tel: +34 957 21 86 25; Fax: +34 957 21 86 58; E-mail:


The role of biorefineries in the production of energy and chemicals from biomass of lignocellulosic nature is reviewed. Special attention is devoted to biorefinery schemes dealing with the fractionation of lignocellulosic raw materials by chemical treatments. The potential of hydrothermal treatments as the first stage of future biorefineries is discussed. Special attention is devoted to the low-volume, high-added value products that can be solubilized by this type of technology.

Keywords: Biorefineries, lignocellulosic materials, cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin.