, Volume 70-72, Issue 1, pp 3-15

Comparison of SO2 and H2SO4 impregnation of softwood prior to steam pretreatment on ethanol production


The pretreatment of softwood with sulfuric acid impregnation in the production of ethanol, based on enzymatic hydrolysis, has been investigated. The parameters investigated were: H2SO4 concentration (0.5 – 4.4% w/w liquid), temperature (180 – 240°C), and residence time (1-20 minutes). The combined severity (log Ro-pH) was used to combine the parameters into a single reaction ordinate. The highest yields of fermentable sugars, i.e., glucose and mannose, were obtained at a combined severity of 3. At this severity, however, the fermentability declined and the ethanol yield decreased. In a comparison with previous results, SO2 impregnation was found to be preferable, since it resulted in approximately the same sugar yields, but better fermentability.