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Combining the effects of process design and pH for improved xylose conversion in high solid ethanol production from Arundo donax

1, 1

AMB Express

Springer

4052779

10.1186/s13568-014-0041-z

Bioethanol, High solids loading, Xylose fermentation, SSCF, Enzymatic hydrolysis

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      Abstract

      The impact of pH coupled to process design for the conversion of the energy crop Arundo donax to ethanol was assessed in the present study under industrially relevant solids loadings. Two main process strategies were investigated, i.e. the traditional simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation (SSCF) and a HYBRID design, where a long high temperature enzymatic hydrolysis step was carried out prior to continued low temperature SSCF, keeping the same total reaction time. Since acetic acid was identified as the major inhibitor in the slurry, the scenarios were investigated under different fermentation pH in order to alleviate the inhibitory effect on, in particular, xylose conversion. The results show that, regardless of fermentation pH, a higher glucan conversion could be achieved with the HYBRID approach compared to SSCF. Furthermore, it was found that increasing the pH from 5.0 to 5.5 for the fermentation phase had a large positive effect on xylose consumption for both process designs, although the SSCF design was more favored. With the high sugar concentrations available at the start of fermentation during the HYBRID design, the ethanol yield was reduced in favor of cell growth and glycerol production. This finding was confirmed in shake flask fermentations where an increase in pH enhanced both glucose and xylose consumption, but also cell growth and cell yield with the overall effect being a reduced ethanol yield. In conclusion this resulted in similar overall ethanol yields at the different pH values for the HYBRID design, despite the improved xylose uptake, whereas a significant increase in overall ethanol yield was found with the SSCF design.

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      Most cited references 31

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      Towards industrial pentose-fermenting yeast strains.

      Production of bioethanol from forest and agricultural products requires a fermenting organism that converts all types of sugars in the raw material to ethanol in high yield and with a high rate. This review summarizes recent research aiming at developing industrial strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with the ability to ferment all lignocellulose-derived sugars. The properties required from the industrial yeast strains are discussed in relation to four benchmarks: (1) process water economy, (2) inhibitor tolerance, (3) ethanol yield, and (4) specific ethanol productivity. Of particular importance is the tolerance of the fermenting organism to fermentation inhibitors formed during fractionation/pretreatment and hydrolysis of the raw material, which necessitates the use of robust industrial strain background. While numerous metabolic engineering strategies have been developed in laboratory yeast strains, only a few approaches have been realized in industrial strains. The fermentation performance of the existing industrial pentose-fermenting S. cerevisiae strains in lignocellulose hydrolysate is reviewed. Ethanol yields of more than 0.4 g ethanol/g sugar have been achieved with several xylose-fermenting industrial strains such as TMB 3400, TMB 3006, and 424A(LNF-ST), carrying the heterologous xylose utilization pathway consisting of xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase, which demonstrates the potential of pentose fermentation in improving lignocellulosic ethanol production.
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        Techno-economic evaluation of producing ethanol from softwood: comparison of SSF and SHF and identification of bottlenecks.

        The aim of the study was to evaluate, from a technical and economic standpoint, the enzymatic processes involved in the production of fuel ethanol from softwood. Two base case configurations, one based on simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) and one based on separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF), were evaluated and compared. The process conditions selected were based mainly on laboratory data, and the processes were simulated by use of Aspen plus. The capital costs were estimated using the Icarus Process Evaluator. The ethanol production costs for the SSF and SHF base cases were 4.81 and 5.32 SEK/L or 0.57 and 0.63 USD/L (1 USD = 8.5SEK), respectively. The main reason for SSF being lower was that the capital cost was lower and the overall ethanol yield was higher. A major drawback of the SSF process is the problem with recirculation of yeast following the SSF step. Major economic improvements in both SSF and SHF could be achieved by increasing the income from the solid fuel coproduct. This is done by lowering the energy consumption in the process through running the enzymatic hydrolysis or the SSF step at a higher substrate concentration and by recycling the process streams. Running SSF with use of 8% rather than 5% nonsoluble solid material would result in a 19% decrease in production cost. If after distillation 60% of the stillage stream was recycled back to the SSF step, the production cost would be reduced by 14%. The cumulative effect of these various improvements was found to result in a production cost of 3.58 SEK/L (0.42 USD/L) for the SSF process.
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          Liquefaction of lignocellulose at high-solids concentrations.

          To improve process economics of the lignocellulose to ethanol process a reactor system for enzymatic liquefaction and saccharification at high-solids concentrations was developed. The technology is based on free fall mixing employing a horizontally placed drum with a horizontal rotating shaft mounted with paddlers for mixing. Enzymatic liquefaction and saccharification of pretreated wheat straw was tested with up to 40% (w/w) initial DM. In less than 10 h, the structure of the material was changed from intact straw particles (length 1-5 cm) into a paste/liquid that could be pumped. Tests revealed no significant effect of mixing speed in the range 3.3-11.5 rpm on the glucose conversion after 24 h and ethanol yield after subsequent fermentation for 48 h. Low-power inputs for mixing are therefore possible. Liquefaction and saccharification for 96 h using an enzyme loading of 7 FPU/g.DM and 40% DM resulted in a glucose concentration of 86 g/kg. Experiments conducted at 2%-40% (w/w) initial DM revealed that cellulose and hemicellulose conversion decreased almost linearly with increasing DM. Performing the experiments as simultaneous saccharification and fermentation also revealed a decrease in ethanol yield at increasing initial DM. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was capable of fermenting hydrolysates up to 40% DM. The highest ethanol concentration, 48 g/kg, was obtained using 35% (w/w) DM. Liquefaction of biomass with this reactor system unlocks the possibility of 10% (w/w) ethanol in the fermentation broth in future lignocellulose to ethanol plants. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1]Department of Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Lund, SE-221 00, Sweden
            Contributors
            Journal
            AMB Express
            AMB Express
            AMB Express
            Springer
            2191-0855
            2014
            1 May 2014
            : 4
            : 41
            Copyright © 2014 Palmqvist and Lidén; licensee Springer

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.

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