Lignocellulosics to ethanol: The future of the chemical and energy industry
Energy and environmental issues are among the major concerns facing the global community today. Biofuel technology is now globally embraced as the promising technology to replace fossil fuels. Lignocellulosic waste biomass from forestry, agriculture and municipal sources are abundant, inexpensive and potential feedstock for bioenergy production. To initiate the cellulosic bioenergy production, saccharification of cellulosic biomass is essential; however; recalcitrant nature of the waste materials, crystallinity of cellulose fiber, lignin and hemicellulose content presents a major obstacle in the conversion processes. Several pretreatment methodologies were discussed in details by which the crystalline structure of lignocellulosic biomass becomes more susceptible for cellulase enzymes. This review also addresses the different strategies for the enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation. This article reviews the developments in the technology for ethanol production from lignocellulosic materials/biomass. Furthermore, the detailed biochemical basis of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol is also reviewed.
Key words: Ethanol, lignocellulosic biomass, cellulase, pretreatment technologies, biofuels, fermentation.