Combined ensiling and hydrothermal processing as efficient pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse for 2G bioethanol production

Morten Ambye-Jensen, Riccardo Balzarotti, Sune Tjalfe Thomsen, César Fonseca, Zsófia Kádár*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Ensiling cannot be utilized as a stand-alone pretreatment for sugar-based biorefinery processes but, in combination with hydrothermal processing, it can enhance pretreatment while ensuring a stable long-term storage option for abundant but moist biomass. The effectiveness of combining ensiling with hydrothermal pretreatment depends on biomass nature, pretreatment, and silage conditions. In the present study, the efficiency of the combined pretreatment was assessed by enzymatic hydrolysis and ethanol fermentation, and it was demonstrated that ensiling of sugarcane bagasse produces organic acids that can partly degrade biomass structure when in combination with hydrothermal treatment, with the consequent improvement of the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose and of the overall 2G bioethanol process efficiency. The optimal pretreatment conditions found in this study were those using ensiling and/or hydrothermal pretreatment at 190 °C for 10 min as this yielded the highest overall glucose recovery yield and ethanol yield from the raw material (0.28-0.30 g/g and 0.14 g/g, respectively). Ensiling prior to hydrothermal pretreatment offers a controlled solution for wet storage and long-term preservation for sugarcane bagasse, thus avoiding the need for drying. This preservation method combined with long-term storage practice can be an attractive option for integrated 1G/2G bioethanol plants, as it does not require large capital investments or energy inputs and leads to comparable or higher overall sugar recovery and ethanol yields.
Original languageEnglish
Article number336
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creat iveco mmons .org/licen ses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creat iveco mmons .org/ publicdoma in/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • Combined pretreatment
  • Ensiling
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis
  • Ethanol fermentation
  • Hydrothermal pretreatment
  • Sugarcane bagasse


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