Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Chemical Engineering

Advisor 1

David R. Shonnard

Committee Member 1

Rebecca G. Ong

Committee Member 2

Pradeep K. Agarwal


The generation of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass involves innovative process technology that is being investigated worldwide. Enzymatic hydrolysis is a major step in the contemporary process of the generation of biofuels. Guided by pore size distribution measured using NMR cryoporometry, we developed pore-enzyme diffusion and adsorption models at the particle level coupled with a kinetic model for cellulose, cellobiose, and glucose production at flask level. By simulating these models in MATLAB, COMSOL, and Polymath software packages, we investigate the effects of various biomass particle-related parameters (particle dimensions, porosity, enzyme accessibility) on the characteristic time of enzyme diffusion and adsorption and enzymatic hydrolysis yield for lignocellulosic biomass. The multiscale model predictions for glucose concentration agree with the experimental kinetic data from the literature. The model was applied to predict the effect of changing microporous structures on the glucose yield from hydrolysis of dilute acid-pretreated hybrid poplar.