Advantages of gas fermentation

The production of first generation biofuels relies on food crops such as sugar beet, sugar cane, corn, wheat and cassava as substrates for bioethanol; and vegetable oils and animal fats for bio­diesel. Although years of intense R&D have made methods of bioethanol production (typically using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae) technologically mature, there remain some serious questions regarding its sustainability. The use of food crops as a source of carbohydrate feed­stocks by these processes requires high-quality agricultural land. The inevitable conflict be­tween the increasing diversion of crops or land for fuel rather than food production has been highlighted as one of the prime causes of rising global food prices. Furthermore, corn ethanol producers in the US, have historically enjoyed a 45-cent-a-gallon federal tax credit for years (which ended in early 2012), costing the government US$30.5 billion between 2005 to 2011, rais­ing questions about its economic competitiveness with gasoline [10, 11].

These arguments have stimulated the search for so-called second generation biofuels, which utilize non-food lignocellulose biomass such as wood, dedicated energy crops, agricultural residues and municipal solid wastes as feedstocks. Biomass consists of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, and the latter of which is extremely resistant to degradation. One approach to un­locking the potential in this abundant feedstock is to separate the lignin from the carbohydrate fraction of the biomass via extensive pre-treatment of the lignocellulose involving, for exam­ple, steam-explosion and/or acid hydrolysis. These pre-treatments are designed to allow the carbohydrate portion of the biomass to be broken down into simple sugars, for example by en­zymatic hydrolysis using exogenously added cellulases to release fermentable sugars [12]. Such approaches have been found to be expensive and rate limiting [6, 12, 13]. Alternatively, processes using cellulolytic microorganisms (such as C. cellulolyticum, C. thermocellum, and C. phytofermentans) to carry out both the hydrolysis of lignocelluloses and sugar fermentation in a single step, termed ‘Consolidated Bioprocessing Process (CBP)’ [12] have been proposed, how­ever the development of these is still at an early stage, and again low conversion rates seem to be a major limitation that needs to be overcome.

Microorganisms such as acetogens, carboxytrophs and methanogens are able to utilize the CO2 + H2, and/or CO available in such syngas as their sole source of carbon and energy for growth as well as the production of biofuels and other valuable products. However, only acetogens are described to synthesize metabolic end products that have potentials as liquid transportation fuels. While biological processes are generally considered slower than chemical reactions, the use of these microbes to carry out syngas fermentation offers several key advantages over alter­native thermo-chemical approaches such as the Fischer-Tropsch’ process (FTP). First, microbi­al processes operate at ambient temperatures and low pressures which offer significant energy and cost savings. Second, the ambient conditions and irreversible nature of biological reactions also avoid thermodynamic equilibrium relationships and allow near complete conversion effi­ciencies [14, 15]. Third, biological conversions are commonly more specific due to high enzy­matic specificities, resulting in higher product yield with the formation of fewer by-products. Fourth, unlike traditional chemical catalysts which require a set feed gas composition to yield desired product ratios or suite, microbial processes have freedom to operate for the production ofthe same suite of products across a wider range of CO:H2 ratios in the feed gas [16]. Fifth, bio­catalysts exhibit a much higher tolerance to poisoning by tars, sulphur and chlorine than inor­ganic catalysts [6, 16]. However, some challenges have been identified for syngas fermentation to be commercialized, including gas mass transfer limitations, long retention times due to slow cell growth, and lower alcohol production rates and broth concentrations. Recent progress and development to remedy these issues will be highlighted in this review.


Biomass is a renewable, unevenly geographically distributed resource that can be consid­ered sustainable and carbon-neutral if properly managed. It can be converted to high-quali­fied gaseous, liquid and solid biofuels with many techniques. This book focuses on the latest conversion techniques for the production of liquid and gaseous biofuels that should be of interest to the chemical scientists and technologists.

This book includes 17 chapters contributed by experts around world on conversion techni­ques. The chapters are categorized into 2 parts: Liquids and Gases and Other Products.

Part 1 (Chapters 1-11) focuses on liquid biofuels. Chapter 1 reviews pathways for the con­version of hemicellulose to biofuels and chemicals. Chapter 2 discusses the production of cellulosic ethanol. Chapter 3 gives the experimental results of ethanol and methanol used in Otto engines. Chapter 4 presents analytic methods to determine trace Cu in ethanol. Chapter 5 reviews gas fermentation process for the production of liquid fuels (e. g., ethanol, butanol and 2,3-butanediol) and other products (e. g., acetic acid and butyric acid). Chapters 6 and 7 overview the production and applications of biobutanol. Chapter 8 describes the metabolic pathways involved in microbial hydrocarbon fuel synthesis and discusses strategies for im­proving biofuel production using genetic manipulation. Thermal conversion and upgrading techniques (such as catalytic hydroprocessing and microwave irradiation) are introduced in Chapters 9-11.

Part 2 (Chapters 12-17) describes production methods for gases and other products. Chap­ters 12 and 13 introduce hydrogen production by anaerobic fermentation, and DC and im­pulse plasma-liquid systems, respectively. Chapter 14 overviews some techniques (e. g., anaerobic digestion, fermentation, lipid extraction and gasification) for the production of bi­ofuels from algae. Chapter 15 briefly introduces the production of biogas, biodiesel and ethanol. Chapter 16 comments on various thermal and biological conversions of oil palm empty fruit bunch to biofuels. Finally, Chapter 17 proposes a biorefinery concept for the co­products of biofuels and value-added biomaterials for sustainable bioeconomy.

This book offers reviews state-of-the-art conversion techniques for biofuels. It should be of interest for students, researchers, scientists and technologists in the engineering and scien­ces fields.

I would like to thank all the contributing authors for their time and efforts in the careful construction of the chapters and for making this project realizable. It is certain to inspire many young scientists and engineers who will benefit from careful study of these works and that their ideas will lead us to develop even more advances methods for producing liquids and gases from biomass resources.

I am grateful to Ms. Iva Simcic (Publishing Process Manager) for her encouragement and guidelines during my preparation of the book.

Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude towards my family for their kind coop­eration and encouragement, which help me in completion of this project.

Zhen Fang

Leader of Biomass Group Chinese Academy of Sciences Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, China



Fermentation of lignocellulosic substrates2

4.1. Ethanol fermentation

Fermentation of lignocellulose hydrolysates is more complicated compared to fermentation of 1st generation feedstock (sugar cane juice, molasses, grains) for several reasons: a) pentose sugars (predominantly xylose) are present along with hexoses (mainly glucose, mannose, galactose) in the hydrolysate, b) toxic compounds released during pretreatment can influ­ence metabolic activity of the fermentation strain, c) low concentrations of fermentable sug­ars hamper the attainment of a high ethanol concentration. Because lignocellulose hydrolysates are poor in some nutrients (phosphorus, trace elements, and vitamins) they are usually supplemented, e. g. by addition of corn steep or yeast extract before being used as a substrate for fermentation. For an efficient process it is necessary to identify a strain that uti­lizes both pentose and hexose sugars, produces ethanol with a high yield and productivity and is tolerant to both inhibitors and ethanol. One of the main challenges is to simultaneous­ly co-ferment pentose and hexose sugars, but neither yeast S. cerevisiae nor the bacterium Z. mobilis, which are usually used for ethanol production, contain genes for expression of xy­lose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase [89]. In order to enhance process effectiveness, co­fermentation or sequential fermentation of hexoses and pentoses has been examined by combining good ethanol producers with strains naturally utilizing pentoses e. g. Pichia stipi — tis, Candida shehatae, Pachysolen tannophillus, Klebsiella oxytoca. However, xylose utilization is the rate limiting step due to catabolite repression by hexoses and the low availability of oxy­gen, and inhibition of pentose-utilizing strains by ethanol [90, 91]. Moreover, the yield of ethanol by co-fermentation is usually lower than with separate processes, e. g. yields of 0.5 g ethanol per g glucose (98% of theoretical) and 0.15 g/g xylose (29% theoretical) were ach­ieved by separate cultivation of Z. mobilis and P. tannophillus respectively, but in optimized co-fermentation, the yield was just 0.33 g ethanol/g sugar. The same yield was obtained in a 5-reactor process combining P. stipitis and S. cerevisiae [92], but it was enhanced to 0.49 g/g sugars (96% theoretical) by cultivation of an adapted co-culture of S. cerevisiae, P. tannophilis and recombinant E. coli in dilute-acid softwood hydrolysate [93]. In a subsequent process employing P. stipilis and S. cerevisiae, which was inactivated before Pichia inoculation to avoid oxygen competition, 75% of theoretical ethanol yield was achieved [94]. A different approach is represented by the use of a recombinant strain prepared either by cloning genes encoding xylose utilization into good ethanol producers or to construct synthetic pathways for ethanol production in pentose-utilizing hosts. Wild type yeasts can be genetically modi­fied to utilize xylose by introducing fungal genes encoding xylose reductase and xylitol de­hydrogenase or bacterial/fungal genes for xylose isomerase [95]. Yeast S. cerevisiae was transformed with the xylA gene from Thermus thermophiles and Piromyces sp. to produce xy­lose isomerase, but unfortunately, this enzyme was inhibited by xylitol, favouring instead, its formation. Recently a recombinant strain of S. cerevisiae expressing a heterologous xylA gene produced 0.42 g/g of ethanol from xylose [96]. A strategy using xyl1 and xyl2 genes from P. stipitis introduced into S. cerevisiae produced transformants that exclusively con­sumed xylose, but produced significant amounts of xylitol [97]. On the other hand, with re­combinant Z. mobilis, which carried E. coli genes encoding for xylose isomerase, xylulokinase, transketolase and transaldolase, 86% ethanol yield from xylose was achieved. Another strain of Z. mobilis, expressing genes araABD from E. coli, encoding L-arabinose iso­merase, L-ribulokinase, L-ribulose-5-P-4 epimerase together with genes for transketolase and transaldolase, was able to grow on arabinose with 98% ethanol yield. E. coli, which nat­urally utilizes a wide range of substrates including pentoses, was transformed by genes en­coding pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrodenase, resulting in enhanced ethanol production [96]. Adaptation of recombinant strains to inhibitors can further increase the yield of ethanol, e. g. the ethanol yield achieved with a genetically engineered strain of S. cer­evisiae grown on bagasse hydrolysate was increased from 0.18 g/g to 0.38 g/g after adapta­tion [98]. Recombinant strains that not only consume pentoses but also hydrolyse hemicelluloses by co-expressing endoxylanase, p-xylosidase and p-glucosidase activities has recently been constructed [95] and yields of 0.41 g/g of ethanol were obtained from total sugars in a rice straw hydrolysate.

In addition to the wide range of sugars, their low concentration in hydrolysates is problem­atic. Since ethanol recovery by distillation is only economically viable on the industrial scale for yields greater than 4% (w/w), which for most hydrolysates requires a dry mass concen­tration greater than 20% [45], the use of high substrate loading is needed. Effect of substrate concentration (unbleached hardwood pulp and organosolve pretreated poplar) on glucose concentration resulting from the enzyme hydrolysis was studied in [52] and [99]. In labora­tory scale after 48 h of enzymatic hydrolysis 158 g/l glucose in the hydrolyzate was reached, ethanol concentration after fermentation ranged between 50.4 and 63.1 g/l. The general problem for this kind of conversions is that high load of the pulp or pretreated lignocelulo — sic material gives rise to high viscosity and thus also to mixing and transport problems. These extremely high yields of glucose can be attributed to a very efficient peg mixer. Prob­lems connected with use of such high viscosity slurries can be overcome by various strat­egies, e. g. maximizing dry matter by removing most hemicellulose and lignin, utilizing alternative bioreactors with novel mixing modes (e. g. peg mixer, shaking, gravitational tum­bling, hand stirring) or gradual dosing of substrate into the bioreactor (fed-batch), which en­ables the use of more substrate and thus increases the yield of ethanol above values achievable in batch mode. Moreover, the actual concentration of toxic substrates is reduced and yield and/or productivity is enhanced by controlled dosing of substrate and prolonged cultivation time, thus shortening unprofitable periods between batches [45, 89]. Feed rates should reflect the type of hydrolysate and strain. Continuous cultures usually using immo­bilized cells (to prevent their wash out from the bioreactor at high dilution rates) is another strategy to increase process productivity [89].

Integration strategies, which replace classical separate hydrolysis and fermentation process­es (SHF) by combining several process steps in one vessel represents another approach for lignocellulosic ethanol production. Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF), which combines enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation in one step, permits an increased rate of cellulose hydrolysis by elimination of product inhibition (the released glucose is con­sumed by the microbial strain), an increased rate of sugar consumption, reduced contamina­tion due to the presence of ethanol and a reduced number of reactors. However, SSF is constrained by different temperature optima for each process (the cellulase optimum is usu­ally 40-50 °C, whereas the fermentation temperature usually cannot exceed 35 °C for most ethanol producers) and carbon source limitation in the early stages of the process. Several modifications of SSF to ease the problems and increase productivity have been published. These include the use of thermotolerant ethanol producers [100, 101], application of a pre­saccharification step [102] or the use of recombinant strains consuming both hexose and pentose sugars (a simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation process (SSCF)) [103] in batch or fed-batch mode [104]. Consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), which combines cellulase production, cellulose hydrolysis and fermentation into a single step have been investigated as a way of reducing the cost of cellulolytic enzymes, increasing volumetric productivity and reducing capital investment [105]. Some biofuel companies (e. g. Mascoma and Qteros) have been founded based on this concept [105]. CBP microorganisms should combine high cellulase production and secretory capability, the ability to utilize a broad range of sugars, tolerance to high concentrations of salts, solvents and inhibitors, high ethanol productivity and yield, have a known genomic DNA sequence and developed recombinant technologies and ideally be usable as feed protein after fermentation [105]. There is a lack of native organ­isms that combine the ability to produce cellulolytic enzymes and be homoethanolic with high titres and yields. Although some thermophilic anaerobic bacteria e. g. Clostridium ther — mocellum, are high cellulase producers and utilize both pentose and hexose sugars, they have a low tolerance to ethanol ~30 g/l [106] and an insufficient yield ~0.2 g/g [107]. There­fore recombinant strains have been prepared by engineering cellulolytic microorganisms (e. g. C. thermocellum, C. phytofermentans, C. cellulolyticum, T. reesei or F. oxysporum) to produce ethanol. Knockout mutants of Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum that lack lactic and ace­tic acid production exhibited an ethanol yield from xylose of 0.46 g/g [108], while recombi­nant Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius produced 0.42-0.47 g/g of ethanol from hexoses [65]. Another attempt, to create a recombinant cellulose-utilizing microorganism using non-cellu­lolytic strains with high ethanol production have not been very successful; although some recombinant ethanologenic strains secreting some active cellulases have been prepared [106, 109, 110], their requirement for a nutrient rich medium and often sensitivity to end-product inhibition hamper their use [105].

Feedstock and gasification

Due to the flexibility of the microbes to ferment syngas with diverse composition, virtually any carbonaceous materials can be used as feedstock for gasification. Non-food biomass that can be employed as feedstock for gasification includes agricultural wastes, dedicated energy crops, forest residues, and municipal organic wastes, or even glycerol and feathers [1620]. Biomass is available on a renewable basis, either through natural processes or anthropogen­ic activities (e. g. organic wastes). It has been estimated that out of a global energy potential from modern biomass of 250 EJ per year in 2005, only 9 EJ (3.6%) was used for energy gener­ation [18]. The use of existing waste streams such as municipal organic waste also differenti­ate itself from other feedstocks such as dedicated energy crops because these wastes are available today at economically attractive prices, and they are often already aggregated and require less indirect land use. Alternatively, gasification of non-biomass sources such as coal, cokes, oil shale, tar sands, sewage sludge and heavy residues from oil refining, as well as reformed natural gas are commonly applied as feedstocks for the FTP and can also be used for syngas fermentation [15, 21]. Furthermore, some industries such as steel manufac­turing, oil refining and chemical production generate large volume of CO and/or CO2 rich gas streams as wastes. Tapping into these sources using microbial fermentation process es­sentially convert existing toxic waste gas streams into valuable commodities such as bio­fuels. The overall process of gas fermentation is outlined in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Overview of gas fermentation process

Prior to gasification, biomass generally needs to go through a pre-treatment process encom­passing drying, size reduction (e. g. chipping, grinding and chopping), pyrolysis, fractiona­tion and leaching depending on the gasifier configuration [22, 23]. This upstream pre­treatment process can incur significant capital expense and add to the overall biomass feedstock cost, ranging from US$16-70 per dry ton [22]. Gasification is a thermo-chemical process that converts carbonaceous materials to gaseous intermediates at elevated tempera­ture (600-1000oC), in the presence of an oxidizing agent such as air, steam or oxygen [16, 22]. The resulting syngas contains mainly CO, CO2 H2 and N2, with varying amounts of CH, water vapour and trace amount of impurities such as H2S, COS, NH3, HCl, HCN, NO» phe­nol, light hydrocarbons and tar [17, 22, 24]. The composition and amount of impurities of syngas depends on the feedstock properties (e. g. moisture, dust and particle size), gasifier type and operational conditions (e. g. temperature, pressure, and oxidant) [17, 22]. Table 1 summarizes typical composition of syngas and other potential gas streams derived from various sources.

Biofuels and Co-Products Out of Hemicellulos es

Ariadna Fuente-Hernandez, Pierre-Olivier Corcos, Romain Beauchet and Jean-Michel Lavoie

Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. doi. org/10.5772/52645

1. Introduction

Second generation biofuels are based on the utilisation of non-edible feedstock for the production either of ethanol to be inserted in the gasoline pool or of biodiesel to be insert­ed in the diesel pool. Ethanol is usually produced out of fermentation of C6 sugars (al­though other approaches does exist, see [1]) and the latter came, in first generation ethanol, from starch. In second-generation ethanol, the source of carbohydrate considered is usually cellulose, which, in turns, is obtained from lignocellulosic biomass. Recent work by Lavoieet al. [2] have depicted an overview of many types of lignocellulosic biomass and in most cases, cellulose, although a major component, is not the only one and is ac­companied by lignin, hemicelluloses, extractives and, in case of agricultural biomass, pro­teins. High grade biomass (as wood chips, sugar cane or even corn) are usually very expensive (more than 100 USD/tonne) because, in most part, of the important demand re­lated to those feedstock in industries and this is why cellulosic ethanol is more than often related to residual biomass. The latter includes but is not limited to residual forest and ag­ricultural biomass as well as energy crops. In all cases, although the feedstock is rather in­expensive (60-80 USD/tonne), it is composed of many different tissues (leaves, bark, wood, stems, etc.) making its transformation rather complex [3]. Industrialisation of second-gen­eration biofuel requires specific pre-treatment that should be as versatile as efficient in or­der to cope with the economy of scale that has to be implemented in order to make such conversion economical.

The whole economics of cellulosic ethanol relies first on ethanol, which has a commodity beneficiates from a quasi-infinite market as long as prices are competitive. Assuming aver­age cellulose content of 45-55 % (wt) in the lignocellulosic biomass, the ethanol potential of lignocellulosic biomass would range between 313-390 L per tonne of biomass converted.

With an actual market price of 0.48 USD per liter the value of this ethanol would range be­tween 150-187 USD per tonne of biomass processed. Since the latter is more expensive to process (first isolation of cellulose then hydrolysis of cellulose) and considering the fact that the feedstock is itself expensive, there is a necessity to get an added value out of the remain­ing 55-45 % (wt) content. This residual carbon source is composed mostly of hemicelluloses and of lignin. The latter is a very energetic aromatic-based macromolecule, that has a high calorific value explaining why many processes converting such biomass (as some pulp and paper processes) relies on the combustion of lignin to provide part of the energy for the in­dustry. It could also serve as a feedstock for the production of added-value compounds and although the subject is very pertinent to the field, it is out of the scope of this review, which focuses mostly on C5 sugars derived from hemicelluloses.

Conversion of the carbohydrates is of course an important part of the process although; iso­lation of hemicellulose for the lignocellulosic matrix is also crucial for such an approach and in consequence should also be briefly assessed. For years now, the pulp and paper industry have worked with lignocellulosic substrates and they have over the year developed many techniques allowing isolation of hemicelluloses. Chemical processes as soda pulping and kraft pulping allows isolation of both lignin and hemicellulose whilst protecting the cellulo — sic fibres in order to produce the largest amount of pulp possible per ton of biomass. Never­theless, in both chemical processes previously mentioned, the hemicellulose are rather difficult to reach since they are mixed with a variety of organic and inorganic compounds including lignin as well as the chemicals that were used for the pulping process. During the last decades, the pulp and paper industry have started to look toward other processes that could allow a preliminary removal of hemicelluloses in order to avoid a complicated and ex­pensive isolation after a chemical pulping process.

Amongst the techniques used for prehydrolysis, treatments with hot water catalyzed or not have been investigated in details in literature. As an example, Schildet al. [4] performed a preliminary extraction with water (via auto-hydrolysis) or with alkaline water prior to soda pulping in order to recuperate the hemicellulose prior to pulping. Similar testing was also performed on northern spruce with pressurised hot water in the presence of sodium bicar­bonate [5]. Hot water extractions were also performed at temperature around 170 °C at dif­ferent pH (the latter were adjusted with a phthalate buffer) and these experiments showed that control of pH was crucial in order to extract more of the hemicelluloses (up to 8 % wt on original biomass) [6]. Hot water extractions at similar temperature range have also been per­formed on maple [7] as well as on sugarcane bagasse [8]. Overall the hot water pretreatment may be a very promising approach for isolation of hemicelluloses although reported rates did not go far over 10 % because of the necessity to preserve the cellulosic fibres in order to avoid losses for papermaking. Acid catalyst has also been used as pretreatment to remove hemicellulose prior to pulping as reported by Liuet al. [9]. Utilisation of sulphuric acid, al­though very efficient to remove hemicellulose may also have an impact on cellulose thus re­ducing the pulp production rates.

Another process that could lead to isolation of hemicellulose is the organosolv process, which is to a certain extent comparable to classical chemical pulping in that sense that the

technique allows simultaneous removal both for lignin and hemicelluloses. However, in­stead of using only an aqueous mixture of ions, the process relies on the utilisation of a com­bination of ions (usually alkaline) in a 50/50 mixture of aqueous organic solvent. In most cases, the solvent is methanol for obvious economic reasons although other solvents as buta­nol and certain organic acids have also been investigated to the same purposes. Recent work by Wanget al. [10]have shown that in an organosolv process using different solvent as well as different catalyst with poplar, sodium hydroxide was shown to be the best catalyst for hemicellulose removal from the pulp. Recent work by Brosse et al. [11] also showed that for Miscanthus Gigantheus, an ethanol organosolv process combined with an acid catalyst (sul­phuric) lead to removal of most of the hemicelluloses and lignin from the original biomass.

Finally, another approach that could lead to isolation of hemicellulose from a lignocellulosic matrix is steam processes. This technique relies on impregnation of the feedstock with water (either catalyzed or not) then treatment under pressure at temperature ranging from 180-230 °C for a certain period of time after which pressure is relieved suddenly thus creating an "explosion" of the feedstock. Such process could lead, depending on the operating condi­tion, to the isolation of either hemicellulose or lignin in two steps or in a single step. Our team has demonstrated the feasibility of both processes for different substrates [1214].

Independently of the substrate or the technique used for the isolation of the hemicelluloses, conversion of lignocellulosic biomass, either for the production of paper or for the produc­tion of biofuels requires a complete utilization of the carbon compound found in biomass. Once the hemicelluloses are isolated from the original feedstock, they can undergo different types of transformation leading to different added value compounds that could lead to in­crease the margin of profit for the industries in the field.

Hemicelluloses account for 15-35 % of lignocellulosic biomass dry weight [2] and they are usually composed of different carbohydrates as well as small organic acids as acetic and for­mic acid. Glucose and xylose are often the most abundant sugars in hemicelluloses hydroly­sis although mannose, arabinose and galactose might also be present in lower concentrations. The carbohydrate compositions of some lignocellullosic biomass are shown in Table 1. Whilst the C6 sugars could easily be fermented to ethanol following detoxifica­tion of the mixture, C5 sugars remains hard to convert to ethanol, mostly because classical yeasts don’t metabolise them and the genetically modified organism that ferment C5 sugars are usually slower than classical organisms used in the production of etanol from C6 sugars. Nevertheless, even if ethanol production may remain a challenge, other alternatives could be considered, both on the chemical and on the microbiological point of view, to allow con­version of C5 sugar into added value products.

Carbohydrates tend to react in acidic, basic, oxidative or reductive mediums and therefore, numerous do arise for the conversion of C5 sugars. Although many options are available, this review will focus solely on 4 different pathways: acid, base, oxidative, and reductive. Each of these pathways could be inserted in an integrated biorefinery process where each of the fractions could be isolated and upgraded to high value compounds (see Figure 1).



Energy crops

Agricol residues








Wheat Straw [15]


Stover [17]



Loblolly Pine [19]






























Table 1. Carbohydrate composition of some lignocellulosic biomass.


Figure 1. Potential utilization of hemicelluloses in an optimized conversion process for residual lignocellulosic biomass where C6 sugars are converted to ethanol, lignin and extractives to other added value products.

In this review, emphasis will be made on the recent work made for each of these conversion pathways both on the chemical and on the biochemical pathways. The review will focus on these 4 approaches also for their generally simple nature that would make them adaptable to an industrial context. These results will be compared to classical fermentation processes to produce ethanol with different types of organisms that can metabolise C5 sugars.

ABE (acetone-butanol-ethanol) fermentation

Different, so-called solventogenic species of the genus Clostridium, like Clostridium acetobu — tylicum, Clostridium beijerinckii or Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum, can be used for 1- butanol production by ABE fermentation. The fermentation usually proceeds in two steps; at first butyric and acetic acids, along with hydrogen and carbon dioxide, are formed and then metabolic switching leads to the formation of solvents (mainly 1-buta­nol and acetone) and the cessation/slowdown of acid and gas production (for recent re­views see [111114]). Industrial fermentative ABE (butanol) production, which has quite a long and impressive history connected with both World Wars, is nowadays carried out only in China and Brazil (estimated annual production of 100 000 t and 8 000 t from corn starch and sugar cane juice, respectively) [10]. However, many corporations such as BP, DuPont, Gevo, Green Biologics, Cobalt Technologies and others have declared their inter­est in this field. A unique example of the use of lignocellulosic hydrolysate on an indus­trial scale is the former Dukshukino plant (operated in the Soviet Union up to 1980s) producing acetone and butanol by fermentation. The plant was based on current "very modern" biorefinery concepts which assumed the conversion of complex feedstocks (hy­drolysates of agricultural waste + molasses or corn) into many valuable products i. e. in addition to solvents (acetone, butanol and ethanol), it was possible to produce liquid CO2, dry ice, H2 fodder yeast, vitamin B12 and biogas [115].

The most interesting approach to fermentation of any lignocellulosic substrate is probably consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) i. e. a method in which a single microorganism is used for both substrate decomposition and fermentation to produce the required metabolites. Although some clostridial species such as Clostridium thermocellum can utilise cellulosic substrates and produce ethanol [116, 117], the ABE fermentation pattern unfortunately cannot be produced using clostridia. However, C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824 possesses genes for various cellullases and a complete cellulosome [118120]. But even if production of some cellulases by C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824 was induced by xylose or lichenan [118], cellulose utilization was not achieved, possibly because of insufficient or deficient synthesis of an unknown specific chaperone that could be responsible for correct secre­tion of cellulases [119]. Nevertheless as solventogenic Clostridium species are soil bacteria that differ significantly in fermentative abilities and genome sizes, it is not excluded that in the future, some solventogenic species with cellulolytic activity will be isolated from an appropriate environment. Recently, a new strain of Clostridium saccharobutylicum with hemicellulolytic activity and ABE fermentation pattern was found amongst 50 soil-borne, anaerobic, sporulating isolates [121].



Microbial strain

ABE concentration


/yield (%)

/productivity (g/l/h)


Wheat straw

Diluted sulphuric acid+ enzyme

C. beijerinckii P260



Wheat bran

Diluted sulphuric acid

C. beijerinckii ATCC 55025



Corn fiber

Diluted sulphuric acid+ XAD-4 resin treatment + enzyme

C. beijerinckii BA101



Corn cobs

Steam explosion + enzyme

C. acetobutylicum



Rice straw

Alkali + (NH4)2SO4 precipitation + activated carbon treatment + enzyme

C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum ATCC 27022



Sugar cane bagasse

Alkali + (NH4)2SO4 precipitation + activated carbon treatment + enzyme

C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum ATCC 27022





Heat + enzyme

C. acetobutylicum JB200



Domestic organic waste

Steam explosion, lyophilization + enzyme +4 fold concentration of released sugars

C. acetobutylicum DSM 792



Dried distiller’s

Diluted acid + overliming

C. saccharobutylicum 260



grain and


C. butylicum 592



hot water + overliming+ enzyme

AFEX +overliming+ enzyme

C. butylicum 592


Sweet sorghum stem

Diluted acetic acid

C. acetobutylicum ABE 0801



All fermentations were run in SHF mode i. e. sugar release and fermentation were separate processes. AFEX stands for ammonium fiber expansion process.

Table 3. Selection of batch ABE fermentations in laboratory scale using lignocellulosic hydrolysates as a substrate

Until now, lignocellulosic substrates must be prehydrolysed for the ABE process. In the case of fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolysate, usually containing low concentrations of fer­mentable sugars, one of the main bottlenecks in the ABE process, the low final titre of buta­nol (caused by severe butanol toxicity towards bacterial cells), is of minor importance. In fact hydrolysates are very good substrates for clostridia that express extensive fermentative abilities [122, 123]and can utilise not only cellulose-derived glucose but also hemicellulose monomers (xylose, arabinose, galactose, mannose). Co-fermentation of various sugar mix­tures was described for Clostridium beijerinckii SA-1 (ATCC 35702) [124], Clostridium acetobu — tylicum DSM 792 [125], C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824 [126] and C. beijerinckii P260 [127] however, at the same time, catabolic repression of xylose utilization in the presence of glu­cose was demonstrated in C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824 [128, 129].

An overview of fermentation parameters achieved in batch ABE fermentations of different hydrolysates is presented in Table 3. The most promising results were obtained by Lu et al. [130] using cassava bagasse and a mutant strain, C. acetobutylicum JB200; the results of Marchal et al. [131] were unique at the scale used (48 m3) as shown in Table 3. A frequent problem of lignocellulosic hydrolysates is a low final concentration of fermentable sugars caused by low density of the original substrate. This can be overcome by evaporation of the hydrolysate [132](see Table 3) or by addition of glucose and/or other carbohydrates present in the hydrolysate (this is only possible in laboratory scale experiments) [85,133135]. In the case of glucose supplemented corn stover and switchgrass hydrolysates, final ABE concen­trations of 26 and 15 g/l were achieved [135]. With C. beijerinckii P260, use of diluted and Ca(OH)2 treated barley straw hydrolysate supplemented with glucose resulted in a solvent concentration of 27 g/l, a yield of 43% and productivity of 0.39 g/l/h [133]. In addition to ma­terials presented in Table 3, other substrates like diluted sulfite spent liquor supplemented with glucose [134], palm empty fruit bunches [136, 137] or hardwood [138] were used in the ABE process but in these cases, additional optimizations were necessary.

In addition to a batch fermentation arrangement, semi-continuous fermentation of enzymat­ically hydrolyzed SO2 pretreated pine wood using C. acetobutylicum P262 resulted in 18 g/l of solvents, a yield of 36% and solvent productivity of 0.73 g/l/h [142]. Further, fed-batch fer­mentation of wheat straw hydrolysate supplemented with varying concentrations of hydro­lysate sugars (glucose, xylose, arabinose and mannose) using C. beijerinckii P260 yielded a solvent productivity of 0.36 g/l/h if gas stripping was used [127]. In the cases shown in Table 3, enzyme hydrolysis preceeded fermentation, however simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) was also tested. In SSF of acid pre-hydrolyzed wheat straw using C. beijer — inckii P262 and solvent removal by gas stripping, 21 g/l of ABE was produced with a pro­ductivity of 0.31 g/l/h [127] Nevertheless, the solvent yield from hardwood using SSF was rather low, at 15% [138].

5. Conclusion

Intensive research over the last decades on lignocellulose-derived ethanol have focused mainly on intensification of biomass pretreatment, production of cellulolytic enzymes, and strain and process improvements, and have eliminated some of the main technologi­cal bottlenecks. Although a number of projects on 2nd generation bioethanol ended with the opening of pilot and demonstration plants around the world (production capacity in millions of gallons for the year 2012 given in brackets) e. g. the POET demonstration plant in Iowa (0.02 from corn stover and cobs), Abengoa in Kansas (0.01 from corn stover), Blue Sugarsin Wyoming (1.3 from stover and cobs), Chempolis in Finland (3.7 from paper waste), Fiberight in Iowa (6.0 MSW), Iogen in Canada (0.48 from stover), Praj MATRIX in India (0.01 from cellulose), UPM-Kymemene/Mesto in Finland (0.68 from mixed cellulose) and in spite of several proclamations, none of them is operating at the industrial scale [9]. To make this possible, further reductions in processing costs will be necessary to achieve a product that is competitive with 1st generation bioethanol. Further process integration is required, including decreased energy demand during pretreatment, increased sugar concentration, higher enzyme activity and strain recycling. By-products, e. g. lignin separated after pretreatment procedure can be used to generate energy for ethanol plant operations (lignin has higher caloric value (25.4 MJ/kg) then the biomass it­self [8]) or used as a dispersant and binder in concrete admixtures, as an alternative to phenolic and epoxy resins, or as the principal component in thermoplastic blends, poly­urethane foams or surfactants [143]. A combination of 1st and 2nd generation feedstocks (e. g. corn cobs together with stover ) can eliminate bottlenecks and lead to product com­petitiveness. Higher bioethanol production costs can also be compensated for by political and economic instruments such as tax incentives (e. g. tax exemption on biofuels and higher excise taxes for fossil fuels) and legislation (mandatory blends) to enable ready ac­cess of 2nd generation biofuels to the market [30]. Butanol, as a second generation biofuel, might be produced via fermentation and used as an excellent fuel extender in addition to ethanol if the technological bottleneck of a low final concentration, yield and productivity could be overcome, and the assumption that suitable cheap waste pretreatments were possible.


The. review was performed thanks to financial support of the projects Kontakt ME10146 of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Czech Republic and BIORAF No. TE01020080 of the Technological Agency of the Czech Republic.

Author details

Leona Paulova, Petra Patakova, Mojmn Rychtera and Karel Melzoch *Address all correspondence to: Leona. paulova@vscht. cz

Department of Biotechnology, Institute of Chemical Technology Prague, Prague, Czech Re­public

Fixed bed gasifier

Depending on the direction of the flows of carbonaceous fuel and oxidant (air or steam), fixed bed gasifier can be further categorized into updraft or downdraft reactor. In the up­draft (counter-current) version of the fixed bed gasifier, biomass enters from the top while gasifying agent from the bottom. The biomass moves down the reactor through zones of drying (100oC), pyrolysis (300oC), gasification (900oC) and finally oxidation zone (1400oC) [18]. Although this mode of gasifier is often associated with high tar content in the exit gas, recent advances in tar cracking demonstrated that very low tar level is achievable [31]. The direct heat exchange of the oxidizing agent with the entering fuel feed results in low gas exit temperature and hence high thermal efficiency [18, 23]. The downdraft (co-current) gasifier has very similar design as the updraft reactor, except the carbonaceous fuel and oxidizing agent flow in the same direction. In comparison to the updraft gasifier, the downdraft reac­tor has lower tar content in the exit gas but exhibit lower thermal efficiency [23]. Due to the size limitation in the constriction (where most of the gasification occurs) of the reactor, this mode of gasifier is considered unsuitable for large scale operation [18].

Conversion of xylose under an acid catalyst

1.1. The chemical pathway

Either in cyclic or aliphatic form, xylose then tends to dehydrate thus leading to the produc­tion of furfural whilst losing three molecules of water. Although this approach could explain the formation of furfural, it is not the sole options and many detailed reports have shown, by correlating the intermediaries with the actual structure, could be formed by many ap-

proaches depending on the reactant as reported by Marcotullio et al. [20] using halogen ions and proceeding only via the aliphatic form or as reported by Nimlos et al. [21] either via an aliphatic or a cyclic pathway (D-xylopyranose). Many different types of acid catalyst, either Br0nsted or Lewis have been tested for the production of furfural. Although most of the acids reported in literature have been efficient so far for the production of the targeted mole­cule, one of the major side-reaction of furfural is polymerisation which influences the con­version rates and the selectivity of most of the processes reported in literature. An example of the abundance of research on this specific conversion is shown in Table 2 for different de­hydration reactions under acid catalyst..







Sulphonic acid/Silica surface






KI, KCl (dilute acid)



NaCl, H2SO4






NaCl, HCl



Aluminium chloride Hexahydrate



Amberlyst 70



Zeolite H-Beta



MCM-22, ITQ-2









Keggin type acids



Vanadyl pyrophosphate



Table 2. Molar conversion to furfural in relationship with the catalyst used for the dehydration of xylose to furfural under acid catalyst.

For these reactions, the temperature is generally between 140-240 °C under proportional pressure allowing the mixture to remain liquid. Many researches also use a co-solvent, often toluene in order to isolate furfural from the aqueous mixture. The reason why toluene is so popular to this purpose is mostly related to the fact that toluene has affinity for fufural thus inhibiting its polymerization.

Heterogeneous catalyst has been proven to be very efficient for the process [22,23] although polymerisation tend to reduce the surface activity thus leading to a short-term deactivation of the catalyst. On the other hand, homogeneous catalyst was also shown to be efficient but at this point the whole technique relies on how the organic solvent is dispersed in the aque­ous mixture. Reducing the size of the organic solvent particles in water (or vice-versa) to the maximum should allow the best transfer between the aqueous phase to the organic phase,

assuming of course that furfural has suitable affinity for the solvent and that the partition coefficient favours the solvent.

Production of furfural itself is of course of significant interest because, amongst many fac­tors, this chemical is commonly used in the industry as a solvent (mostly in oil chemistry). The average world production for furfural is 250 000 t/y and the actual market price evolves around 1000 USD/t [36] with recent market value reported to be closer to 1600 USD/tonne [37]. Furfural can also be a gateway to other products that could be used either as biofuels or as biomolecules. Example of such would be furfuryl alcohol via partial reduction of furfural (see Figure 2 below).


Figure 2. Reduction of furfural to furfuryl alcohol.

Furfuryl alcohol is also of interest since it is used as resins, adhesives and wetting agent, it has been mentioned that most of the 250 Kt/y of the furfural production is oriented toward production of furfuryl alcohol. The market value of this compound has been reported to be around 1800-2000 USD/tonne [38] and many reports in open literature mentions high selec­tivity for the conversion of furfural with iridium and ruthenium catalyst [39], rhodium [40], iron [41] and with zirconium oxide [42].

Another possible target for the transformation of furfural is for the production of 2-meth — yltetrahydrofuran (Me-THF) (see Figure 3). The latter is actually accredited as an additive for fuel and therefore, the possible market is virtually very important. It is also used in the petroleum industry to replace tetrahydrofuran (THF) that usually comes from non-re­newables.


Figure 3. Reduction of furfural to 2-methyltetrahydrofuran.

Reduction of furfural to Me-THF seems to represent an important challenge since there is fewer reports mentioned in literature on the subject, as compared, as an example, to the re­duction of furfural to furfuryl alcohol. Wabnitz et al. [43, 44] patented a one and two step process allowing conversion of furfural to Me-THF under a palladium-based catalyst and a mixture of palladium and copper oxide and chromium oxide as for the two step process.

Lange [45] patented a process using palladium and titanium oxide whilst Zheng et al. [46] worked with a copper alloy. Value for Me-THF could be estimated from the price of THF which is around 3000 USD/tonne [47] and the gap between the value of furfural and Me — THF could justify the process although hydrogen value can be estimated to be around 4.5 USD/Kg (estimated with the actual price of natural assuming reforming of the latter).

Another potentially interesting approach for a transformation of furfural would be decar­boxylation to furan. The general process is depicted in Figure 4 below.


Figure 4. Decarboxylation of furfural to furan.

Many researches have focused on decarboxylation including work by Zhang et al. [48] who mentioned decarboxylation with potassium-doped palladium, and Stevens et al. [49] who re­ported conversion with copper chromite in supercritical CO2.

Results reported in literature show that xylose, under an acid catalyst, tend invariably to de­hydrate to furfural thus limiting the possibilities for side-products in such specific condi­tions. The acids could be Brrnsted or Lewis type, all lead to the production of furfural furthermore when temperature are raised above 150 °C.

1.2. The biological pathway

Although furfural is a very common route for the conversion of xylose under an acid cata­lyst, furfural itself is rarely related to microorganisms in that sense that it is often considered as an inhibitor instead of a metabolite. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, no report mentioned a biological conversion of xylose to furfural.

Biofuels Ethanol and Methanol in OTTO Engines

Charalampos Arapatsakos

Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. doi. org/10.5772/52772

1. Introduction

Today, humanity faces many environmental problems, one of which is atmospheric pollution that leads to greenhouse effect, ozone formation and to many health problems to human beings. Also, many countries around the world face the problem of energy shortage. At the same time we must not forget the need for clean air, clean fuel and biodegradable, renewable materials. Hazardous pollutants that lead to atmospheric pollution have many sources and automobile’s exhaust emission is one of these. Petroleum-based products that have been used as fuels produce dangerous gas emissions. In order to decrease environmental impacts, scientists and many governments turned their attention to renewable fuels as alternatives to conventional fossil fuels and as oxygenates [1]. The beginning of the 21st century finds humans more familiar with the concept of sustainable development. We must prevent the degradation of our environment focusing in more friendly technologies. This need lead scientists to the use of other energy sources that can be used with the same efficiency but won’t have damaging effect to the environment. The increased vehicle number that usually uses petroleum-based fuels results to dangerous emissions production such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and others. These emissions besides the fact that lead to environmental degradation they also constitute a threat for human health. People’s concern about the risks associated with hazardous pollutants results to an increased demand for renewable fuels as alternatives to fossil fuels [1,2]. Ethanol and methanol are alcohols that can be used as fuels instead of gasoline in automobile engines. For better understanding of the use of these two alcohols we must examine them separately. Fuel ethanol is an alternative fuel that is produced from biologically renewable resources that it can also be used as an octane enhancer and as oxygenate. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, ETOH) is a clear, colorless liquid alcohol with characteristic odor and as alcohol is a group of chemical compounds whose molecules contain a hydroxyl group, — OH, bonded to a carbon atom. Is produced with the process of fermentation of grains such as wheat, barley, corn, wood, or

sugar cane. In the United States ethanol is made by the fermentation of corn [13]. By the reaction of fermentation simple sugars change into ethanol and carbon dioxide with the presence of zymase, an enzyme from yeast. Ethanol can also be made from cellulose that is obtained from agricultural residue and waste paper [1]. It is a high-octane fuel with high oxygen content (35% oxygen by weight) and when blended properly in gasoline produces a cleaner and more complete combustion. Ethanol is used as an automotive fuel either by itself or in blends with gasoline, such as mixtures of 10% ethanol and 90%gasoline, or 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline [36]. Many countries around the world use ethanol as fuel. For example, in Brazil ethanol is produced using as raw material sugarcane and many vehicles use ethanol as fuel. Also in Canada and in Sweden ethanol is highly promoted as fuel because of the many environmental benefits that ethanol has. When gasoline is used as fuel hydrocarbons (HC) escape to the atmosphere. Many hydrocarbons are toxic and some, such as benzene, cane cause cancer to humans. If ethanol is used as fuel hydrocarbons are not being produced because ethanol is an alcohol that does not produce HC when is burned. The reaction of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides that are produced from the gasoline burning, in the presence of sunlight leads to the formation of photochemical smog. The use of ethanol as fuel can contribute to the decrease of photochemical smog since it does not produces hydrocarbons [58]. Vehicles that burn petroleum fuels produce carbon monoxide (CO) because these fuels do not contain oxygen in their molecular structure. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is formed by incom­plete combustion. When ethanol, which contains oxygen, is mixed with gasoline the combus­tion of the engine is more complete and the result is CO reduction [911].

Using renewable fuels, such as ethanol, there is also a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is non-toxic but contributes to the greenhouse effect. Because of the fact that plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, that balances the amount of CO2 that is formed during combustion absorbed by plants used to produce ethanol. That is why the use of ethanol will partially offset the greenhouse effect that is formed by carbon dioxide emissions of burning gasoline [1113]. Ethanol, as an octane enhancer, can substitute benzene and other benzene-like compounds, which are powerful liver carcinogens, and reduce their emissions to the atmosphere. Besides the environmental benefits, production and use of ethanol, which is a renewable fuel, increases economic activity, creates job openings, stabilizes prices and can increase farm income. That is why ethanol as an automotive fuel has many advantages.

Methanol (CH3OH) is an alcohol that is produced from natural gas, biomass, coal and also municipal solid wastes and sewage. It is quite corrosive and poisonous and has lower volatility compared to gasoline, which means that is not instantly flammable. Usually methanol is used as a gasoline-blending compound, but it can be used directly as an automobile fuel with some modifications of the automobile engine.

Although there are many feedstocks that are being used for the production of methanol, natural gas is more economic. Methanol is produced from natural gas with a technology of steam reforming. By this method natural gas is transformed to a synthesis gas that is fed to a reactor vessel to produce methanol and water at the presence of a catalyst. The reac — tions(equation 1,2) that represent methanol production are the following [4]:

2CH4+ 3H2O ® CO + CO2+7H2 — Synthesis gas (1)

CO + CO2+ 7H2 ® 2CH3OH +2H2+ H2O (2)

The main advantage of methanol as fuel is that is being produced from resources that can be found globally, while a large percentage of petroleum is located in Middle East. Furthermore, the materials needed for methanol production such as natural gas or biomass are renewable. This means that methanol can also be cheaper and more economically attractive than gasoline. When fossil fuels are used in automobiles produce exhaust emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Methanol can give lower HC and CO emissions and besides that the vehicles that use methanol emit minimum particulate matter compared to gasoline, which usually has damaging effect to humans. In addition, methanol has high-octane content that promotes better the process of combustion. Another advantage of methanol is that if it does ignite can cause less severe fires to the vehicle because is less flammable than gasoline [4]. Some disadvantages that methanol has are the lower energy content compared to gasoline, the fact that is not volatile enough for easy cold starting and can damage plastic and rubber fuel system components. The vehicle that uses methanol for fuel must have a large storage tank because pure methanol burns faster than gasoline, and corrosion resistant, materials must be used for the storage equipment [1416]. Renewable fuels such as ethanol and methanol will probably replace petroleum-based fuels in the near future because petroleum reserves are not sufficient enough to last many years. Also, the severe environ­mental problems around the world will eventually lead to the use of more environmentally friendly technologies. The question that is examined in this chapter is how the mixtures of gasoline-ethanol and gasoline-methanol behave in a four-stroke engine from the aspect of emissions and fuel consumption.

Fluidized bed reactor

In fluidized bed reactor, the carbonaceous fuel is mixed together with inert bed material (e. g. silica sand) by forcing fluidization medium (e. g. air and/or steam) through the reactor. The inert bed facilitates better heat exchange between the fuel materials, resulting in nearly isothermal operation conditions and high feedstock conversion efficiencies [18, 22]. The maximum operating temperature of the gasifier is typically around 800 — 900oC, which is limited by the melting point of the bed material [18]. Furthermore, the geometry of the reac­tor and excellent mixing properties also means that fluidized bed reactors are suitable for up-scaling [18, 22]. Due to these properties, fluidized bed reactor is currently the most com­monly used gasifier for biomass feedstock [32]. However, this mode of gasifier is not suita­ble for feedstocks with high levels of ash and alkali metals because the melting of these components causes stickiness and formation of bigger lumps, which ultimately negatively affect the hydrodynamics of the reactor [18].

Composition vol%, dry basis








Non-biomass source

Coal gasification








Coke oven gas








Partial oxidation of heavy fuel oil







Hardwood chips + 20 wt%liquid crude glycerol








Steam reforming of natural gas








Steam reforming of Naphtha








Water gas








Steel Mill








Biomass and organic waste source

Demolition wood + sewage sludge








Cacao shell








Dairy biomass
















Kentucky bluegrass straw
















Note: NR, not reported

The factors that determine which type of gasifier to employ are scale of operation, feedstock size and composition, tar yield and sensitivity towards ash [18]. Currently, three main types of gasifier are commercially employed: fixed bed, fluidized bed and entrained flow reactors [18].

Table 1. Typical composition of syngas and other potential gas streams from various sources