biofuels crop and algae-resized-600After a previous post on using ion chromatography (IC) for the analysis of fuel grade biobutanol, the spotlight here is on a rapid (< 8 min) and robust IC method that can be adopted for the on-line monitoring of sugar levels in biomass applications. Corn stover (Wikipedia), a common feedstock for biofuel alcohol production, consists of the leaves and stalks of maize plants left after harvesting. It is critical to determine carbohydrates during biofuel alcohol production to ensure process yield and product quality.

The method described in Application Note 282: Rapid and Sensitive Determination of Biofuel Sugars by Ion Chromatography (downloadable PDF) requires minimal sample pretreatment. It uses our ion chromatography system (Thermo ScientificDionex ICS-5000 RFIC system) and a Dionex CarboPac SA10 anion-exchange column with electrolytically generated hydroxide eluent and high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAE-PAD). The configuration described in the application note only requires the addition of DI water for continuous operation.

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The disposable gold electrode (Thermo Scientific Dionex Gold on PTFE Disposable Electrode) (downloadable PDF) used in the application has a specified lifetime of 4weeks (twice that of previous disposable electrodes) and is excellent for sugar alcohols analysis. These electrodes provide consistently high detector response resulting in greater instrument-to-instrument and lab-to-lab reproducibility.

Don’t forget to let us know of any specific applications for biofuels that you are interested in the comments box below. Our applications lab would be pleased to consider your request!