, Volume 105, Issue 1-3, pp 87-100

Hydrothermal pretreatment conditions to enhance ethanol production from poplar biomass

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Pretreatment has been recognized as a key step in enzyme-based conversion processes of lignocellulose biomass to ethanol. The aim of this study is to evaluate two hydrothermal pretreatments (steam explosion and liquid hot water) to enhance ethanol production from poplar (Populus nigra) biomass by a simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process. The composition of liquid and solid fractions obtained after pretreatment, enzymatic digestibility, and ethanol production of poplar biomass pretreated at different experimental conditions was analyzed. The best results were obtained in steam explosion pretreatment at 210°C and 4 min, taking into account cellulose recovery above 95%, enzymatic hydrolysis yield of about 60%, SSF yield of 60% of theoretical, and 41% xylose recovery in the liquid fraction. Large particles can be used for poplar biomass in both pretreatments, since no significant effect of particle size on enzymatic hydrolysis and SSF was obtained.