Kierston Shill.

Assistant Specialist
University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, 2013
University of California, Berkeley
M.S. Chemical Engineering, 2010
University of California, Berkeley
B.S. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2008
Georgia Institute of Technology

Office Location: 242 Energy Biosciences Building
Office Telephone: 510-666-2558

Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Ionic Liquid Pretreated Biomass

My project is to study the enzymatic hydrolysis of substrates treated with ionic liquids. Ionic liquids have potential as a pretreatment because of their ability to dissolve biomass, which can then be readily precipitated with the addition of an antisolvent. Ionic liquids are also designable (multiple anion and cation pairs) and non-volatile, although a recycle is needed for them to be economically viable. The dissolution of biomass allows for the decrystallization of cellulose, as well as the potential for delignification. The crystallinity, as well as the presence of hemicellulose and lignin, greatly decreases the rate of hydrolysis, making the breakdown of biomass extremely time intensive. With the ionic liquid pretreatment, the conversion of biomass into sugars with enzymes has the potential to be much faster, making the process more time efficient and practical.