Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Sep 01

Ethanol from Cellulosic Biomass

Posted in Biofuels | Ethanol Fuel

Cellulosic EthanolOne of the barriers to the production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass is the toughness of the cellulosic structure, and its resistance to chemical and enzymatic hydrolysis and insolubility in most solvents. Accordingly, pre-treatment such as steam explosion to break down the structure is a necessary first step.

Now, researchers at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have discovered that cellulose undergoes a transformation from a crystalline form to an amorphous gel-like one very similar to a starch gel in water at high temperature (320° C) and pressure 25 (MPa).

Starch forms a gel when heated in water to around 70° C. Gelatinization is a key step in the conversion of starch to glucose, which is then fermented to create ethanol.

Up to now, it had been thought that cellulose could not gelatinize, because its crystalline structure is more stable than that of starch.

Next steps in developing the process would be to attempt it with production-grade biomass waste, and to devise a mechanism for the transformation under milder conditions.

  • russ

    Several articles today which all offer hope.

    All are the result of long term research – money invested by governments as seed money exploring what might be.

  • jojo

    Another very bad idea attempting to preserve/prolong an unsustainable way of life, yard waste is no waste at all, all organic matter that is grown should return to the land to feed our depleted top soil, make a choice; bread or air conditioning.


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