Background: In this study, cocksfoot grass (Dactylis glomerata), an abundant lignocellulosic biomass was pretreated using different operational parameters using wet explosion (WEx) pretreatment for accessing the bioethanol potential of the hemicellulose fraction. Utilization of the hemicellulose liquid hydrolysate to ethanol is essential for economically feasible cellulosic ethanol processes. Fermentation of the separated hemicellulose liquid hydrolysates obtained after the WEx pretreatment was done by Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 (Scheffersomyces stipitis). Results: The fermentation of the WEx liquid hydrolysate from the pretreatment at higher severity (180°C, 15 min, 87 psi oxygen and 190°C, 15 min, 0.2% sulfuric acid) was fully inhibited probable by the presence of higher concentrations of inhibitory compounds such as furfural, HMF and acetic acid. The ethanol yield among other WEx conditions was in the range of 89 to 158 mL/kg DM, with the highest yield (92% of theoretical maximum value) found for the lower pretreatment severity at 160°C, 15 min, 87 psi oxygen. Conclusions: Our findings from this present study demonstrated that the release of hemicellulose sugars in the liquid hydrolysate is maximal when a lower pretreatment severity is applied. This is evident as the highest ethanol yields were found under the pretreatment conditions at lower severity.
Sustainable Chemical Processes, 2013, Vol 1, Issue 13, p. 1-7