Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Paper & Bioprocess Engineering

Thesis Advisor

Biljana Bujanovic

Abstract

As the price of corn-based ethanol products is estimated to continue increasing in the near future, lignocellulosics remains the only viable candidate as a renewable source of ethanol production. Wheat straw is grown in over 115 nations under a wide range of conditions, with 300 million tons being produced every year in North America and Europe alone. The Biorefinery proposed at SUNY ESF is based on the first, environmentally acceptable step of hot-water extraction {HWE) as a pretreatment, which removes easily accessible hemicelluloses. Most of the studies of HWE have been performed on different hardwoods (model species: sugar maple, Acer saccharum), and confirmed the dissolution of the majority of xylans. This study looked into the use of wheat straw in the HWE-based biorefinery. The chemical composition of wheat straw before HWE was determined by following several TAPPI and other methods used to analyze chemical composition. The HWE was performed in standard conditions proposed for hardwoods {2 hours, 160°(). The effect of HWE on the calorific value of the wheat straw was evaluated and confirmed that the loss of hemicelluloses during HWE results in an increase of energy of combustion of the extracted wheat straw which is a beneficial feature for potential use of hot-water extracted wheat straw as pellets for CHP (Combined Heat & Power) use. In addition, the delignification and deashing effects of HWE were evaluated.

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