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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Bioenergy Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353822

Research Project: Technologies for Improving Process Efficiencies in Biomass Refineries

Location: Bioenergy Research

Title: Cellulosic ethanol potential of feedstocks grown on marginal land

Author
item Kim, Sun Min - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
item Lee, D.k. - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
item Thapa, Santanu - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
item Dien, Bruce
item Tumbleson, M.e. - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
item Rausch, Kent - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
item Singh, Vijay - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2018
Publication Date: 12/1/2018
Citation: Kim, S.M, Lee, D., Thapa, S., Dien, B.S., Tumbleson, M.E., Rausch, K.D., Singh, V. 2018. Cellulosic ethanol potential of feedstocks grown on marginal land. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. 61(6):1775-1782. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.12945.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.12945

Interpretive Summary: Minimizing the effects of land use changes is important to ensure that production of grass perennials for use in bioenergy production is beneficial. In this study two native grasses were evaluated on waterlogged, saline, and saline water irrigated lands, which would be unsuitable for production of annual crops. The native grasses were cord grass and switchgrass. Harvested biomass was evaluated for chemical composition and fermentative conversion to ethanol. Carbohydrate contents are particularly important because they directly determine the maximum possible ethanol yields. They tended to be similar for waterlogged and saline grown crops and quite a bit lower for saline water irrigated plants. As expected, ash content was 2-3x higher for saline water irrigated plants than for the other plants. Harvested biomass was higher for waterlogged plants with the exception of swtichgrass grown on saline water irrigated lands, which had the highest yield of all. Ethanol productions from waterlogged and saline lands were 2,000 to 3,700 kg/ha, which were comparable to those of samples grown on other agricultural lands. This study suggests that farmers might have the option of bringing these undesirable lands into production for biomass production.

Technical Abstract: To examine chemical composition and ethanol production of feedstocks grown on marginal lands, prairie cordgrass and switchgrass grown on waterlogged, saline, and saline water irrigated lands were evaluated. Samples grown on a land irrigated with saline water had 2.8 fold higher total ash content compared to other types of land, thus resulting in lower carbohydrate concentrations. Samples were pretreated using 1% w/w dilute acid at 160°C for 10 min, and simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation was conducted using industrial engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Yeast fermented glucose and xylose simultaneously; almost all of the sugars were consumed, indicating that salts present in biomass ash did not inhibit yeast performance. Ethanol productions from waterlogged and saline lands were 2,000 to 3,700 kg/ha, which were comparable to those of samples grown on other agricultural lands. Prairie cordgrass and switchgrass grown on marginal lands could be potential feedstocks for cellulosic biofuel.