Optimizing Alkali-cellulase Processing of Biomass into Glucose

John J. Savarese


The alkali-cellulase processing of biomass into glucose near where it is grown has already been demonstrated at laboratory scale. Glucose can be fermented locally or transported to distant facilities for the production of bioethanol as fuel. This renewable energy process uses materials and methods that are readily available and that can be implemented at local or regional sites near growing fields. This study evaluated the effects on glucose production of different durations and amounts of NaOH pretreatment as well as different lengths of time for adsorption of cellulase. The pretreatment of corn stover (CS) with NaOH at 0.1 g/g CS for 6 h at a temperature of 100 °C resulted in the most acceptable glucose release following enzymatic hydrolysis. The exposure of pretreated CS solids to cellulase for 1 h resulted in the most acceptable release of glucose following the volume expansion at 10-fold dilution. The residual solids remaining after 3 h of enzymatic hydrolysis can be recycled to increase yields. The resulting glucose solution can be concentrated to minimize transportation costs when delivered to conventional grain fermentation facilities. This study introduced new conditions that enhanced practicality of the alkali-cellulase processing of biomass by allowing the processing time to be reduced to 10 h.


Biomass conversion; Cellulose; Pretreatment; Cellulase; Alkali-cellulase; Alkcell; Bioethanol

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