Enhancement of ethanol and biogas production from high-crystalline cellulose by different modes of NMMO pretreatment
Journal article, 2010
Pretreatment of high-crystalline cellulose with N-methyl-morpholine-N-oxide (NMO or NMMO) to improve bioethanol and biogas production was investigated. The pretreatments were performed at 90 and 120°C for 0.5–15 h in three different modes, including dissolution (85% NMO), ballooning (79% NMO), and swelling (73% NMO). The pretreated materials were then enzymatically hydrolyzed and fermented to ethanol or anaerobically digested to biogas (methane). The pretreatment at 85% NMO, 120°C and 2.5 h resulted in 100% yield in the subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis and around 150% improvement in the yield of ethanol compared to the untreated and water-treated material. However, the best results of biogas production were obtained when the cellulose was treated with swelling and ballooning mode, which gave almost complete digestion in 15 days. Thus, the pretreatment resulted in 460 g ethanol or 415 L methane from each kg of cellulose. Analysis of the structure of treated and untreated celluloses showed that the dissolution mode can efficiently convert the crystalline cellulose I to cellulose II. However, it decreases the water swelling capacity of the cellulose. On the other hand, swelling and ballooning modes in NMO treatment were less efficient in both water swelling capacity and cellulose crystallinity. No cellulose loss, ambient pressure, relatively moderate conditions, and high efficiency make the NMO a good alternative for pretreatment of high-crystalline cellulosic materials.