A pilot plant for hydrothermal treatment of wheat straw was compared in reactor systems of two steps (first, 80A degrees C; second, 190-205A degrees C) and of three steps (first, 80A degrees C; second, 170-180A degrees C; third, 195A degrees C). Fermentation (SSF) with Sacharomyces cerevisiae of the pretreated fibers and hydrolysate from the two-step system gave higher ethanol yield (64-75%) than that obtained from the three-step system (61-65%), due to higher enzymatic cellulose convertibility. At the optimal conditions (two steps, 195A degrees C for 6 min), 69% of available C6-sugar could be fermented into ethanol with a high hemicellulose recovery (65%). The concentration of furfural obtained during the pretreatment process increased versus temperature from 50 mg/l at 190A degrees C to 1,200 mg/l at 205A degrees C as a result of xylose degradation. S. cerevisiae detoxified the hydrolysates by degradation of several toxic compounds such as 90-99% furfural and 80-100% phenolic aldehydes, which extended the lag phase to 5 h. Acetic acid concentration increased by 0.2-1 g/l during enzymatic hydrolysis and 0-3.4 g/l during fermentation due to hydrolysis of acetyl groups and minor xylose degradation. Formic acid concentration increased by 0.5-1.5 g/l probably due to degradation of furfural. Phenolic aldehydes were oxidized to the corresponding acids during fermentation reducing the inhibition level.
- Bio energy
- Bioenergy and biomass