“breakdown” processes to take the starting biomass material (this could be switch grass, corn, grains, energy cane, water hyacinth, etc.) to the potential building blocks to develop the platform chemicals.
Understanding the basic separation or extraction processes need to isolate the building block chemicals from biomass. Once the platform chemicals have been obtained via whatever selected pathway, the chemical will then have to be separated from the complex mixture. This identifies the need for better separation chemistries that will be required—particularly aqueous separations as well as concentrating techniques as it is anticipated that many of these platform chemicals will be produced in very dilute mixtures. The dilute mixtures also point to another significant research need—understanding of water chemistries. Water will be of significant concern in the production of platform chemicals from biomass—identification of sources, water quality, and the water treatment.