Fermentation of lignocellulosic feedstock after steam explosion pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis
Currently, cellulosic ethanol production is laden with technical challenges, and as a result, not economically viable. The reason for this lies with the toughness of the plant feed material generally called biomass. Processing biomass to allow fermentation to ethanol often requires harsh operations such as extreme heat, pressure, acidity, or a combination of all three. This often leads to the formation of unwanted chemicals that are toxic to organisms that enable fermentation. This research project will enable the partner organization to better understand the relationship between the harshness of their biomass processing steps and the detrimental effect such harshness may have on fermentation. The partner organization is currently undertaking front‐to‐end process research and development. The research will utilize the partner’s existing pilot infrastructure as well as laboratories at the University of Toronto. The results of this research will be critical when the partner organization attempts to optimize the process to strive for maximum ethanol production at the lowest cost.