Submitted to: International Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 8, 2006
Publication Date: October 11, 2006
Citation: Weimer, P.J. 2006. Ethanol and co-products from cellulosic biomass. International Sugar Journal. 108:30-32. Interpretive Summary: Producing ethanol by fermentation of cellulosic materials is much more difficult than producing it from corn or sugar cane. The primary limitation to economic conversion of cellulose to ethanol is the high cost of cellulose-splitting enzymes. A promising alternative route to cellulosic ethanol uses bacteria that perform the conversion in a single reactor, without the necessity of adding additional enzymes. As a side benefit, these bacteria produce a glue-like material that may be usable in plywood manufacture. Producing an additional fermentation product could improve the economics of ethanol production from cellulosic biomass.
Technical Abstract: Cellulosic biomass, because of its massive availability, represent a feedstock source for production of ethanol and other fuels. Proposed processes based on cellulase enzymes combined with yeast fermentation have received intensive study but are currently not economical due to high enzyme cost and lack of a high-value co-product. An alternative cellulosic ethanol platform, consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), is limited by poor ethanol yields and concentration, but recent research efforts have begun to yield results that support some of the platform’s theoretical advantages. One potential benefit of CBP processes is the potential to produce higher value co-products, including a novel plywood adhesive, that would improve process economics.