Advanced Bioethanol Production Technologies: A Perspective

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Conversion of the fermentable sugars residing in lignocellulosic waste and energy crops can conservatively yield approximately 100 billion gallons of fuel-grade ethanol per year in the United States alone. However, the cellulosic biomass-to-alcohol bioconversion process must be proven economical befor industry can commercialize this technology. The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of FuelsDevelopment supports a program to develop a commercially viable process for producing ethanol transportation fuel from renewable biomass resources. Bioconversion technologies developed to date take advantage of a diverse array of pretreatments, followed by enzymatic or chemical saccharification, and fermentation. Progress during recent years in pretreatment and fermentation technologies promisesto significantly improve overall process economics. Examples include the development of two-stage dilute acid, nitric acid/mechanical disruption, and countercurrent percolation pretreatments. Recently developed, genetically engineered ethanologens also promise to improve process economics and include Escherichia coli, Saccharomy ces sp., and Zymomonas mobilis. These microorganisms reportedlyferment xylose and glucose mixtures with high efficiency. This review presents an up-to-date picture of the advanced technology aspects of unit operations key to successful biomass-to-ethanol processing plans with speculation about future focus in this field by NREL researchers.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Title of host publicationFuels and Chemicals from Biomass
    Subtitle of host publicationACS Symposium Series 666
    EditorsB. C. Saha, J. Woodward
    PagesCha 1: 2-45
    StatePublished - 1997

    Bibliographical note

    Developed from a symposium sponsored by the Division of Biochemical Technology at the 211th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, 24-29 March, 1996, New Orleans, Louisiana.

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CH-425-21763


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