Assessment of Combinations between Pretreatment and Conversion Configurations for Bioethanol Production
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The bioethanol production from lignocellulosic materials is a socially and environmentally well-accepted option; however, its technical and economic feasibility needs to be established. In order to know if the bioethanol production from this feedstock has a potential for implementation, we developed a comparison of 16 process configurations based on four pretreatment methods and six conversion options. Indexes that relate to energy consumption, amount of bioethanol produced, water consumption, and final bioethanol composition were used to compare the processing options. Seven alternatives were selected for further analysis with the implementation of a separation process. It was found that the process based on dilute acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis and co-fermentation combination shows the best economic potential. On the other hand, the cellulose hydrolysis based on an enzymatic process showed the best energy efficiency, but the final economic incentive for industrial implementation depends strongly on a fairly low enzyme cost. 2013 American Chemical Society.