Fossil resources-free sustainable development can be achieved through a transition to bioeconomy, an economy based on sustainable biomass-derived food, feed, chemicals, materials, and fuels. However, the transition to bioeconomy requires development of new energy-efficient technologies and processes to manipulate biomass feed stocks and their conversion into useful products, a collective term for which is biorefinery. One of the technological platforms that will enable various pathways of biomass conversion is based on pulsed electric fields applications (PEF). Energy efficiency of PEF treatment is achieved by specific increase of cell membrane permeability, a phenomenon known as membrane electroporation. Here, we review the opportunities that PEF and electroporation provide for the development of sustainable biorefineries. We describe the use of PEF treatment in biomass engineering, drying, deconstruction, extraction of phytochemicals, improvement of fermentations, and biogas production. These applications show the potential of PEF and consequent membrane electroporation to enable the bioeconomy and sustainable development.
- Pulsed electric fields
- Sustainable development