The concentration of selected heavy metals in poplar wood biomass and liquid fraction obtained after high temperature pretreatment

The concentration of selected heavy metals: chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) in 5-year-old wood of Populus trichocarpa before and after steam explosion (SE) and liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatments was studied. The concentration of the above heavy metals in the liquid fraction obtained after pretreatments was also studied. The studied problem of heavy metals in lignocellulosic biomass is an interesting and important issue in the context of bioethanol production technology. An X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF) was used to analyse the concentration of heavy metals. The change of concentration of the tested elements in wood biomass after pretreatment was small (except for iron). On the other hand, the average concentration of iron in wood biomass of a 5-year-old Populus trichocarpa, after SE and LHW with duration of the pretreatments 15 and 60 min, increased about 24-fold to 28-fold, comparing to its average concentration in native wood. During the pretreatment process, wood biomass absorbed the iron that at high temperatures passed from the pretreatment equipment to the solution. The average concentration of the elements under research in liquid fraction obtained during SE and LHW of wood biomass with duration of the pretreatments 15 and 60 min was at a low level.