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Production of Hydrogen and Methane from Lignocellulose Waste by Fermentation. A Review of Chemical Pretreatment for Enhancing the Efficiency of the Digestion Process


In Poland lignocellulose wastes constitute about 43% of municipal waste (∼4 417 Gg). Anaerobic and/or dark fermentation are sustainable methods of lignocellulosic waste-management and contribute greatly to ever increasing demand for energy and products. This paper presents the results of the theoretical potential of methane and hydrogen yields from lignocellulosic wastes. Also, state-of-the-art methods in the field of lignocellulose fermentation as well as its development and pretreatment are discussed. The main reason for applying pretreatment is the decomposition (decrystallization) of cellulose and hemicellulose and cleavage of polymers into monomers, which may be more easily digested by bacteria in DF and AD fermentation processes. At current price levels the cheapest methods are basic and acidic pretreatments. Acidic pretreatment is very efficient (especially using sulfuric acids), solubilizing up to 80% of lignocellulose, but strong acids produce inhibitors and are highly corrosive. Alkaline pretreatment is a competitive and even more efficient (>80%) method to acidic pretreatment especially for some rigid materials that acid cannot solubilize. Oxidative pretreatment is usually expensive but can support the sacharisation process by either alkaline or acidic methods; in the case of NMMO efficiency reaching 82%. Ion-liquid pretreatment is selective (almost 100% sacharisation) but very costly and is too expensive for hydrogen production. The last methods can be profitable if some valuable by-products results. An efficient chemical pretreatment should be preceded by physical comminution e.g. mechanical which is the cheapest one.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Poland

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