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Ethanol from Woodchips

By Chemical Engineering |

Ethanol is widely produced by fermentation of sugars from agriculture feedstocks, such as corn and sugarcane. In order to meet growing energy requirements, several lines of research have focused on cellulosic ethanol production, where some type of lignocellulosic biomass, such as woodchips, sugarcane bagasse, corn stover and others, serve as the feedstock for the process. Use of these raw materials is justified by their low cost, ready availability and status as generally unused residues. Also, such waste biomass feedstocks do not interfere or compete with the production of food from crop feedstocks. The process The production process for ethanol from woodchips shown in Figure 1 is similar to the Green Power+ process described in the U.S. patent published by American Process Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.; www.americanprocess.com; U.S. Patent 195,468; 2011). The major process steps are described in the diagram below. Pretreatment. Wood chips are pumped with hot water into the pretreatment reactor, where hemicelluloses are separated from lignin and cellulose. The treated mixture is washed with recycled filtrate. The hemicellulose extract is sent to the first evaporation step, where water is evaporated. Lignin and cellulose are burned to generate…
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