Bioprocessing Requirements for Bioethanol: Sugarcane vs. Sugarcane Bagasse

Bioprocessing Requirements for Bioethanol: Sugarcane vs. Sugarcane Bagasse

Sophie Anderson (Teesside University, UK) and Pattanathu K.S.M. Rahman (Teesside University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3540-9.ch003
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This chapter discusses alternative energy sources and the advantages of biofuels over fossil fuels. It outlines the main steps of bioethanol production and suggests some alternative sources as potential feedstock. The core focus of this chapter is to examine new research which considers the use of agricultural waste as a feedstock for bioethanol production rather than conventional feedstocks such as sugarcane and corn. The advantages of sugarcane bagasse as a feedstock are discussed in detail and the bioprocessing requirements are studied in comparison to traditional methods that use sugarcane as the feedstock. The chapter concludes by briefly outlining further research that could potentially improve these processes.
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Bioethanol Production

Sources and Applications

The main sources of biomass to produce bioethanol are conventionally sugarcane and corn feedstock, but as discussed above, these sources are barely sufficient to meet the demand (Vohra et al., 2014). Lignocellulosic biomass, also known as agrowaste, is a non-food alternative to this. The possible sources include crop residues, grasses, sawdust and woodchips. More recent research has also explored other possible feedstocks – Byadgi and Kalburgi (2016) considered the use of waste newspapers due to lower feedstock costs and to minimise the newspaper load on municipal waste. Others include bioethanol production form waste potatoes and waste money bills (Sheikh et al., 2013; Ali & Jiyad, 2015)

However, there are four major sources of agrowaste that are widely studied and are most favourable due to their abundant availability. These sources are rice straw, wheat straw, corn straw and bagasse (the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane). As well as the production of bioethanol, a small amount of these feedstocks are also used for animal feed and bedding or fuel for heating and electricity (Sarkar et al., 2012).

Table 1.
Worldwide potential bioethanol production from agricultural wastes
AgrowastePotential Bioethanol Production (Billion Litres Annually)
Rice straw205
Wheat Straw104
Corn Straw58.6
Sugarcane bagasse51.3

(Sarkar et al., 2012)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Biofuels: Fuels produced directly from biomass.

Carbon Footprint: The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere because of human activity.

Agrowaste: Also known as agricultural waste, is waste produced from agricultural operations.

Fermentation: The chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms.

Bagasse: The dry pulpy residue waste from the extraction of juice from sugar cane.

Feedstock: Raw material to supply or fuel a machine or process (such as fermentation).

Biomass: Renewable organic matter such as agricultural crops or waste, often used for fuel.

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