Potential of producing bio-Ethanol for use as E10 in Transportation sector from low cost lignocellulosic green waste in Mauritius

Bio-ethanol production from biomass is attracting attention all over the world in view of its use as an alternative source topetrol or in blends with petrol for clean energy technology in the transportation sector. The commercial feasibility of bioethanolproduction from locally available renewable lignocellulosic resources depends both on its ease of availability and itslow cost. Moreover, with the intensive urge in having a clean environment for the present and future generation, theGovernment of Mauritius has adopted a strategy of Building a Green future for Mauritius through the Maurice Ile Durable(MID) concept through a shift to renewable sources of energy from imported fossil fuels.

Among the strategies, is theconcept of E10, that is, using 10% of bio-ethanol blend with gasoline in the transportation sector in all vehicles in Mauritiusby end of 2012. Mauritius being an agricultural island has a great potential for easily available lignocellulosic biomass.Sugar cane cultivation occupies the highest function in the agricultural sector, with more than 70% of arable land undercane in Mauritius. The major biomass formed is bagasse, which is currently being burnt to produce energy. Furthermore,the molasses formed are already used in Mauritius for bio-ethanol manufacture. However, molasses being limited, othersources such as agricultural wastes (700 tons/day) which are highly abundant in the local context were being looked into.Thus, to be in line with the Government strategy set out on E10 for 2012 and to seek environmental-friendly alternatives inwaste disposal, bio-ethanol production potential were investigated from low-cost local feedstock through the acidichydrolysis. Five types of feedstock from waste streams were studied: peels of cane stalk, cane tops and leaves, elephantgrass, coconut husks and acacia residues. One of the major challenges in hydrolysis technologies is to optimize thecombination of process engineering, fermentation technology and metabolic engineering. Consequently, this study is basedalso on investigating the optimum conditions required for acidic hydrolysis to attain highest bio-ethanol yield for eachfeedstock. During the dilute acid hydrolysis, the feedstock was hydrolysed at 121 0C in an autoclave at atmospheric pressureusing different concentrations of dilute Sulphuric acid at various reaction times, to obtain the available sugars which werethen fermented at optimal conditions. Maximum yields of 145 Liter bio-ethanol per tonne cane stalk hydrolyzed for 1 hourat 2 % sulphuric acid, 118 Liter bio-ethanol per tonne cane tops and leaves hydrolyzed for 3 hours at 4 % sulphuric acid,104 Liter bio-ethanol per tonne elephant grass hydrolyzed for 3 hours at 4 % sulphuric acid, 87 Liter bio-ethanol per tonneacacia hydrolyzed for 1 hour at 2 % sulphuric acid and 82 Liter bio-ethanol per tonne coconut residues hydrolyzed for 2hours at 2 % sulphuric acid were obtained. It was concluded that lignocellulosic biomass such as cane tops and leaves,elephant grass, Acacia leaves which are normally thrown away have a very good potential of being converted to bio-Ethanol which can be used as E10 blends as transportation fuel in Mauritius to meet the demand set out, by end of 2012.



Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Source: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Pages: 7
Price: € 7,00
Autor: Pratima Jeetah
Prof.Dr. Romeela Mohee

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