Gang Hu, John A. Heitmann, Orlando J. Rojas


Energy and environmental issues are among the major concerns facing the global community today. Transportation fuel represents a large proportion of energy consumption, not only in the US, but also world-wide. As fossil fuel is being depleted, new substitutes are needed to provide energy. Ethanol, which has been produced mainly from the fermentation of corn starch in the US, has been regarded as one of the main liquid transportation fuels that can take the place of fossil fuel. However, limitations in the supply of starch are creating a need for different substrates. Forest biomass is believed to be one of the most abundant sources of sugars, although much research has been reported on herbaceous grass, agricultural residue, and municipal waste. The use of biomass sugars entails pretreatment to disrupt the lignin-carbohydrate complex and expose carbohydrates to enzymes. This paper reviews pretreatment technologies from the perspective of their potential use with wood, bark, and forest residues. Acetic acid catalysis is suggested for the first time to be used in steam explosion pretreatment. Its pretreatment economics, as well as that for ammonia fiber explosion pretreatment, is estimated. This analysis suggests that both are promising techniques worthy of further exploration or optimization for commercialization.


Energy, Biomass, Pretreatment, Ethanol, Saccharification, Biorefinery, Steam Explosion, Ammonia Fiber Explosion

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucia-bioresources@ncsu.edu URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126