Process and technoeconomic analysis of leading pretreatment technologies for lignocellulosic ethanol production using switchgrass. Academic Article uri icon


  • Six biomass pretreatment processes to convert switchgrass to fermentable sugars and ultimately to cellulosic ethanol are compared on a consistent basis in this technoeconomic analysis. The six pretreatment processes are ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX), dilute acid (DA), lime, liquid hot water (LHW), soaking in aqueous ammonia (SAA), and sulfur dioxide-impregnated steam explosion (SO(2)). Each pretreatment process is modeled in the framework of an existing biochemical design model so that systematic variations of process-related changes are consistently captured. The pretreatment area process design and simulation are based on the research data generated within the Biomass Refining Consortium for Applied Fundamentals and Innovation (CAFI) 3 project. Overall ethanol production, total capital investment, and minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) are reported along with selected sensitivity analysis. The results show limited differentiation between the projected economic performances of the pretreatment options, except for processes that exhibit significantly lower monomer sugar and resulting ethanol yields.

published proceedings

  • Bioresour Technol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Tao, L., Aden, A., Elander, R. T., Pallapolu, V. R., Lee, Y. Y., Garlock, R. J., ... Warner, R. E.

citation count

  • 247

complete list of authors

  • Tao, Ling||Aden, Andy||Elander, Richard T||Pallapolu, Venkata Ramesh||Lee, YY||Garlock, Rebecca J||Balan, Venkatesh||Dale, Bruce E||Kim, Youngmi||Mosier, Nathan S||Ladisch, Michael R||Falls, Matthew||Holtzapple, Mark T||Sierra, Rocio||Shi, Jian||Ebrik, Mirvat A||Redmond, Tim||Yang, Bin||Wyman, Charles E||Hames, Bonnie||Thomas, Steve||Warner, Ryan E

publication date

  • December 2011