Ethanol Production from Hydrothermally-Treated Biomass from West Africa

Edem C. Bensah, Zsófia Kádár, Moses Y. Mensah

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Despite the abundance of diverse biomass resources in Africa, they have received little research and development focus. This study presents compositional analysis, sugar, and ethanol yields of hydrothermal pretreated (195 degrees C, 10 min) biomass from West Africa, including bamboo wood, rubber wood, elephant grass, Siam weed, and coconut husk, benchmarked against those of wheat straw. The elephant grass exhibited the highest glucose and ethanol yields at 57.8% and 65.1% of the theoretical maximums, respectively. The results show that the glucose yield of pretreated elephant grass was 3.5 times that of the untreated material, while the ethanol yield was nearly 2 times higher. Moreover, the sugar released by the elephant grass (30.8 g/100 g TS) was only slightly lower than by the wheat straw (33.1 g/100 g TS), while the ethanol yield (16.1 g/100 g TS) was higher than that of the straw (15.26 g/100 g TS). All other local biomass types studied exhibited sugar and ethanol yields below 33% and 35% of the theoretical maximum, respectively. Thus, elephant grass is a highly promising biomass source for ethanol production in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)6522-6537
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Ethanol
  • Hydrothermal pretreatment
  • Elephant grass
  • Bamboo
  • Rubber
  • Siam weed
  • Coconut husk

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