Intensified wheat husk conversion employing energy-efficient hybrid electromagnetic radiations for production of fermentable sugar: process optimization and life cycle assessment


This article reports an energy-efficient green pathway for the sustainable conversion of an abundant agro-residue viz. wheat husk (WH) into fermentable sugar (FS). The intensification effects of tungsten-halogen (TH) (150 W) and ultraviolet (UV) (100 W) irradiations on the pretreatment and subsequent hydrolysis of WH have been experimented with and optimized by Taguchi Orthogonal Design Array (TODA). In this study, two commercial catalysts, viz. Amberlyst-15 (A15) and nano-anataseTiO2 (NAT) have been used in varying concentrations for the WH conversion process in a novel TH-UV radiated rotating reactor (THUVRR). At optimized peracetic acid pretreatment conditions [90 °C reaction temperature; 1: 2.5 w/w of WH: H2O2; 1: 5 w/w of WH: CH3COOH (1 M); 2h of reaction time] maximum 20.2 wt. % FS yield and 15 wt. % isolated lignin (purity 97.6 %) were obtained. Subsequently, the pretreated WH (PWH) was hydrolyzed at optimized conditions [(700C reaction temperature; 7.5wt. % catalyst concentration (1:1 w/w A15: NAT); 1: 30 w/w of WH: water; 30 min reaction time)] in THUVRR to render maximum yield of FS (36.9g/ L) (67.4 wt. %), which was significantly greater than that obtained (20.2g/ L) (38.42 wt. %) employing a conventional thermal reactor (CTR). Besides, the energy consumption was 70% more in CTR (500 W) in comparison with THUVRR (150 W); thus, demonstrating markedly superior energy-efficiency vis-à-vis appreciable improvement in FS yield in THUVRR over CTR. Overall sustainability of the process analyzed by LCA proved the approach to be energy-saving and environmentally benign and is expected to be applicable to similar lignocellulosic agro-wastes.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6



Lignocellulosic biomass


Fermentable sugar


Wheat husk


Pretreated wheat husk


Amberlyst 15


Nano-anatase TiO2


Near-infrared irradiation


Tungsten halogen ultraviolet radiated rotating reactor


Conventional thermal reactor


Taguchi orthogonal design array


Number of replications


Signal to noise ratio






Mass of fermentable sugar (mg)


Volume of the reaction mixture


Dilution factor


Molecular weight of glucose


Molecular weight of water


Microwave radiation


Greenhouse gas


Life cycle assessment


Life cycle inventory


Global warming potential


Acidification potential


Eutrophication potential


Ozone depletion potential


Photochemical ozone creation potential


Proportional, integral, derivative

ΨTp :

Reactor temperature in the pretreatment process (°C)

Ψtp :

Batch time in the pretreatment process (h)

Ψwp :

WH to acetic acid weight ratio in the pretreatment process

Ψcp :

WH to hydrogen peroxide weight ratio in the pretreatment process

ΨTh :

THUVRR temperature in the hydrolysis process (°C)

Ψth :

Batch time in the hydrolysis process (min)

Ψch :

Catalyst concentration in the hydrolysis process(%)

Ψwh :

Water to PWH weight ratio in the hydrolysis process

FS :

FS yield (g)


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The authors acknowledge the support provided by the ICBSEE-2020Conference, NIT, Rourkela, India.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


Department of Science & Technology and Biotechnology; Government of West Bengal (File No. ST/P/S&T/4G-2/2018) and RUSA 2.0 (Ref. No. R-11/481/19 and Ref. No. R-11/316/19), India.

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SRC conducted the experiment, analyzed and interpreted the data, and prepared the draft manuscript under the guidance of RC. Besides, RC designed and developed the reactor conceptualized the entire research and provided overall guidance in writing and editing the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rajat Chakraborty.

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Roy Choudhury, S., Chakraborty, R. Intensified wheat husk conversion employing energy-efficient hybrid electromagnetic radiations for production of fermentable sugar: process optimization and life cycle assessment. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021).

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  • Lignocellulosic agro-waste
  • Tungsten-halogen-UV irradiation
  • Amberlyst-15
  • Nano-anatase TiO2
  • Hydrolysis
  • Environmental sustainability