Thermochemical and fractionation processes are promising ways for energy valorization and recovery of biomass and waste. An example is given by the application of a lignocellulosic fractionation process to recover both antioxidant phenolic compounds and cellulose from wheat straw, where a first hydrolysis step is carried out as a novel and green auto-hydrolysis process instead of conventional mild acid hydrolysis. Regarding this, the development of kinetic and reactor models that can represent the autohydrolysis process is crucial to exploit the potential of the agricultural residues (e.g., wheat straw). Several mathematical models were investigated, but the more suitable models for optimization purposes seem to be those based on a non-isothermal kinetic model. However, these models have several shortcomings. For instance, in the autohydrolysis process for the recovery of cellulose and lignin from by-products, the heating and cooling phases are not taken into account. Hence, from the point of view of energy optimization, closely linked also to economical optimization, this aspect becomes extremely important.
Therefore, the aim of this work was to briefly present and comment, similarly to review work, the severity factor model and the kinetic model already investigated in the scientific literature in order to enable their comparison with the newly developed method in the current work in terms of different key performance indicators (e.g., cellulose recovery or sugar release). Specifically, our model includes new equations that consider both heating and cooling phases during autohydrolysis of wheat straw, as well as the isothermal step. In this way, it could be possible to use the obtained kinetic parameters not only for a specific case but also for different situations involving a wide range of operating conditions.