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by | Mar 21, 2022 | Biofuels, Green Energy

Bioethanol Feedstocks 

Sugar or starch are used by plants to store energy. Bioethanol, as a fuel, reintroduces this energy. Bioethanol is an alcohol created from sugar (glucose) obtained from sugar crops or starch crops. Cellulose is another potential source. However, because of technological challenges in large-scale conversion, cellulose-based feedstocks are called second-generation feedstocks (2G). The climate determines the feedstock of choice; for example, sugar cane is utilized in tropical areas, wheat is preferred in Europe, and maize is used in North America.

Bioethanol plants are frequently related to sugar or starch plants, and they employ by-products and leftovers from such businesses as feedstock (in the form of molasses, starch hydrolysate, a.s.o.).

The remaining raw material constituents can yield important co-products because just the sugar or starch is required for the process. DDGS is a high-quality, cost-effective animal feed made from the proteins, minerals, fat, and fiber found in grain. About 30% of the raw material intake may be recycled back into the food chain as a soya alternative in animal husbandry.

The concentrated delayering from (sugar) molasses can also be utilized as an animal feed ingredient, fertilizer, or to create electricity for the plant.

Fuel Properties of Ethanol

The use of ethanol as a fuel for diesel engines, either alone or in the mix with other fuels, has acquired a lot of interest, owing to its potential environmental and long-term cost savings over fossil fuels.

Since creating the internal combustion engine, ethanol has been used as a car fuel. Nikolas A Otto investigated ethanol as an automotive fuel in 1897 as part of his early engine research. This gasoline has been used in Brazil since the 1920s.

Ethanol may be mixed with gasoline at any percentage up to 100%. (E100). Anhydrous ethanol, or ethanol without water, can be blended with gasoline in various amounts to minimize the usage of petroleum fuels and air pollution.

Ethanol is becoming more popular as an oxygenate addition for regular gasoline, replacing methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE), which has been linked to significant groundwater and soil pollution. It can also be used to produce biodiesel and power fuel cells.

It is an alcohol fuel, has a high purity and octane rating, resulting in improved engine performance and lower emissions. Since Henry Ford built his 1908 Model T to run on alcohol, ethanol has been utilized in automobiles.

Properties of Bio-ethanol

Ethanol from Biomass

Domestic cellulosic biomass feedstocks such as herbaceous and woody plants, forestry and agricultural wastes, and much municipal solid waste and industrial waste streams may all be used to make ethanol.

Cellulosic biomass is a complex combination of cellulose and hemicellulose carbohydrate polymers from plant cell walls, lignin, and a minor quantity of additional chemicals known as extractives. A pretreatment procedure is used to lower the feedstock size, break down the hemicellulose to sugars, and open up the structure of the cellulose component to manufacture ethanol from biomass feedstocks. 

Fermentation is a typical process for turning biomass into ethanol. Microorganisms (such as bacteria and yeast) digest plant carbohydrates and develop ethanol during fermentation.

Enzymes break down (hydrolyze) the cellulose part into glucose sugar, which is fermented to ethanol. The hemicellulose carbohydrates are also fermented to produce ethanol. The lignin is used as a source of energy for the process.

To create reducing sugars, hydrolysis of cellulose, or the degradation of cellulose by interaction with water. This process must occur first in the woody biomass. The sugar molecules can then be broken down to generate ethanol and carbon dioxide. 

Bioethanol Production by Fermentation of Carbohydrates

The hydrolytic and thermochemical processes are the two main methods for converting feedstocks to fermentable substrates.

In the hydrolytic approach, the feedstock passes through a pretreatment stage first to make the hydrolytic process easier. Pretreatments might be chemical, physical, or biological. The major components of lignocellulosic feedstocks are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The pretreatment breaks down the lignin and hemicellulose molecules, making cellulose more available in the following stage, the hydrolysis. Using enzymes, the hydrolytic procedure converts the cellulose polymer to simple, fermentable carbohydrates, mostly glucose. Yeasts consume simple sugars derived from hemicellulose and cellulose to produce bioethanol.

The feedstock is gasified in the thermochemical method, generating syngas (a combination of CO, CO2, and H2), which may be fermented anaerobically, generally by clostridia, to produce ethanol or other products. After that, downstream techniques recover and purify the biofuel in both circumstances. Both processes are contrasted in terms of their basic features and development stage, and the many steps involved in both are outlined.  

Carbohydrate hydrolysis: A. platensis is a cyanobacterium that has been proposed as a possibility for biomass production for biofuel production. The present work used phosphorus restriction to grow carbohydrate-rich A. platensis in a semi-continuous culture manner.

Production of Bio-ethanol



  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.


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