Location: Bioenergy Research Unit
Title: Biochemical processing of reed canarygrass into fuel ethanol Authors
Submitted to: International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 27, 2011
Publication Date: December 12, 2011
Citation: Dien, B.S., Casler, M.D., Hector, R.E., Iten, L.B., Nichols, N.N., Mertens, J.A., Cotta, M.A. 2012. Biochemical processing of reed canarygrass into fuel ethanol. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies. 7:338-347. Interpretive Summary: Reed canarygrass has potential as a dedicated bioenergy crop for production in the North Eastern United States because it is well adapted for growth in marginal soils, is a perennial, and has high productivity. Reed canarygrass biomass was evaluated for conversion to fuel ethanol. The biomass was treated with dilute ammonia to open up the plant cell wall structure. The ammonia was evaporated and a combination of enzymes and fermenting yeast used to convert the carbohydrates present in the biomass into ethanol. Under optimized ammonia treatment conditions, the biomass was converted with a conversion efficiency of 72% based solely upon the amount of glucose present in the biomass. This work will be of interest to farmers who might consider growing bioenergy crops and potential producers of cellulosic ethanol.
Technical Abstract: Reed canarygrass is a temperate perennial grass of interest as a bioenergy crop. The canarygrass was evaluated for conversion to bioethanol using liquid hot water and dilute ammonia pretreatments prior to fermentation. Resulting hydrolysates were evaluated for production of ethanol, xylose, and soluble xylans. Dilute ammonia gave higher yield efficiencies than liquid hot water. The optimal condition for dilute ammonia (4% w/v) pretreatment was 170 deg C for 20 min. Hydrolysates were converted to ethanol using Saccharomyces in the presence of a blend of commercial cellulases and additional carbohydrases. The final ethanol conversion efficiency was 84% based upon total hexosans, with 72% of the xylan converted to soluble xylan oligomers.