Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Foster A Agblevor

Abstract

The use of ethanol produced from lignocellulosic biomass for transportation fuel offers solutions in reducing environmental emission and the use of non-renewable fuels. However, lignocellulosic ethanol production is still hampered by economic and technical obstacles. For instance, the inhibitory effect of toxic compounds produced during biomass pretreatment was reported to inhibit the fermenting microorganisms, hence there was a decrease in ethanol yield and productivity. Thus, there is a need to improve the bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol in order to promote its commercialization. The research reported here investigated the use of poultry litter biochar to improve the ethanol production from steam-exploded poplar and corn stover. The effect of poultry litter biochar was first studied on Saccharomyces cerevisiae ATCC 204508/S288C growth, and second on the enzyme hydrolysis and fermentation of two steam-exploded biomasses: (poplar and corn stover). The third part of the study investigated optimal process parameters (biochar loading, biomass loading, and enzyme loading) on the reducing sugars production, and ethanol yield from steam-exploded corn stover. In this study, it has been shown that poultry litter biochar improved the S. cerevisiae growth and ethanol productivity; therefore poultry litter biochar could potentially be used to improve the ethanol production from steam-exploded lignocellulosic biomass.

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