Biomass Processing into Ethanol: Pretreatment, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, Fermentation, Rheology, and Mixing

A comprehensive review with authors’ perspectives on the current and future state of biomass processing to ethanol.

(De Gruyter) – A source of alternative energy is required to replace the Earth’s depleting fossil fuel reserves. Lignocellulosic biomass is a renewable feedstock that is rich in  sugars that can be converted into bioethanol. In order for commercialization to be successful, the process needs to be operated at high dry matter content of biomass, in which biomass becomes a thick paste with challenging rheology for mixing. The authors review the features and perspectives on processing of biomass into ethanol with an emphasis placed on rheology and mixing of biomass in the enzymatic hydrolysis step.

The authors identify a number necessary steps that if improved would be a turning point in biomass conversion of lignocellulosic conversion on a large-scale:

  • A full economic analysis of pretreatments for lignocellulosic conversions to ethanol needs to be performed.
  • Efficient fracturing of biomass needs to be increased
  • Crops low in lignin would have to be grown globally
  • Better enzyme mixtures or ethanol fermenting microorganism should be found
  • More rheological data need to be obtained
  • Appropriate models will have to be constructed and compared as to which model represents the best fit to the experimental data
  • Novel mixing systems need to be designed.


Edited for Content and Length by Dr. Matthew A. Hood.

The original full article can be found at De Gruyter in Green Processing and Sythesis.

DOI: 10.1515/gps-2016-0017

Green Processing and Synthesis. 2016, 6, 1–22.

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