As part of a broader technical and economic feasibility study, we studied production of bioethanol from two types of lignocellulosic biomass by way of concentrated acid impregnation at low temperature. Willow chips and switchgrass were submitted to various impregnation techniques with concentrated sulfuric acid at varying acid: biomass ratios and impregnation times. Goal of the experiments was to investigate the technical feasibility of concentrated acid pretreatment technology as part of an industrial process that employs recycling of acid through biological means. Experimental results showed that significant amounts of fermentable sugars including glucose (up to 78 f max. obtainable glucose) and xylose can be obtained by relatively simple impregnation techniques at room temperature. Fermentation of willow-derived hydrolysates with S. Cerevisiae yielded 0.45 - 0.49 g ethanol/g glucose. Ethanol production rates however were 38 ower compared to standard glucose fermentation, prompting the need for further optimization to reduce the formation of acetic acid and furfural, two fermentation inhibitors. Novel impregnation techniques, including employment of sulfur trioxide, were also investigated but require more work to assess technical feasibility
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