Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pretreatment Boosts Switchgrass’s Ethanol Potential

Hay & Forage Grower
Sep 2, 2011 12:33 PM

Adding a pretreatment step would allow cellulosic ethanol producers to get more of it from switchgrass harvested in the fall, according to a Purdue University study.

Michael Ladisch, an agricultural and biological engineer, and research scientist Youngmi Kim compared switchgrass based on growing location, harvest time and whether it was given a pretreatment step. They found that location wasn't important, but the other two factors could significantly increase the amount of ethanol obtained from the feedstock.

"Switchgrass harvested in the spring had more cellulose, but also more lignin," says Kim. "You do not get the advantage of the increased cellulose content because it's more difficult to extract those sugars because of the lignin."

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