Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The increasing use of oxygenates as fuel additives provides an opportunity for the large-scale expansion of the fuel ethanol industry. In 1994, about 1.3 billion gallons of fuel ethanol were produced in the U.S., primarily from starch. However, the commercial viability of ethanol production from corn is dependent both on the price of corn and the income derived from the esale of corn oil, corn gluten meal, and fiber residues and stillage. Various agricultural biomass sources have potential to serve as low cost and abundant feedstocks for production of fuel ethanol. The steps for production of fuels from biomass involve feedstock preparation, pretreatment, fractionation, enzyme production, hydrolysis, fermentation, product recovery, and waste treatment. Currently, the use of biomass to produce fuel ethanol faces significant technical and economic challenges. Its success depends largely on the development of environmentally friendly pretreatment procedures, highly effective enzyme systems for conversion of pretreated biomass to fermentable sugars and efficient microorganisms to convert multiple sugars to ethanol. Specifically, we have evaluated batch and continuous dilute acid, ammonia fiber explosion, and enzyme treatments for the hydrolysis of corn fiber. These hydrolysates were then examined for ethanol productivity and yield in bioreactors using genetically modified bacteria and yeasts. Application of these novel bioprocessing technologies has the potential to lower the cost of ethanol production and improve the competitiveness of ethanol as a fuel or fuel additive.