Ethanol production from lignocellulosic sugarcane leaves and tops.

by Dodo Charlie Marembu

Institution: University of Fort Hare
Department: Chemistry
Degree: MS
Year: 2014
Record ID: 1438736
Full text PDF: http://contentpro.seals.ac.za/iii/cpro/DigitalItemViewPage.external?sp=1015765


Various methods for the production of bioethanol using different feedstocks have been researched on. In most work on bioethanol synthesis from sugar cane, tops and leaves have been regarded as waste and generally removed and thrown away. In this work, lignocellulosic sugarcane leaves and tops were not discarded but instead used as biomass to evaluate their hydrolyzate content. The leaves and tops were hydrolysed using different methods, namely concentrated acid, dilute acid pre-treatment with subsequent enzyme hydrolysis and compared with a combination of oxidative alkali pretreatment and enzyme hydrolysis. Subsequent fermentation of the hydrolyzates into bioethanol was done using the yeast saccharomyces cerevisae. Acid hydrolysis has the problem of producing inhibitors, which have to be removed and this was done using overliming with calcium hydroxide and compared to sodium hydroxide neutralization. Oxidative alkali pre-treatment with enzyme hydrolysis gave the highest yields of fermentable sugars of 38% (g/g) using 7% (v/v) peroxide pre-treated biomass than 36% (g/g) for 5% (v/v) with the least inhibitors. Concentrated and dilute acid hydrolysis each gave yields of25% (g/g) and 22% (g/g) yields respectively although for acid a neutralization step was necessary and resulted in dilution. Alkaline neutralization of acid hydrolyzates using sodium hydroxide resulted in less dilution and loss of fermentable sugars as compared to overliming. Higher yields of bioethanol, 13.7 (g/l) were obtained from enzyme hydrolyzates than 6.9 (g/l) bioethanol from dilute acid hydrolyzates. There was more bioethanol yield 13.7 (g/l) after 72h of fermentation with the yeast than 7.0 (g/l) bioethanol after 24h. However, the longer fermentation period diminishes the value of the increase in yield by lowering the efficiency of the process.