Understanding mild acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse through particle scale modeling

Greenwood, Ava A., Farrell, Troy W., & O'Hara, Ian M. (2013) Understanding mild acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse through particle scale modeling. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 110(12), pp. 3114-3125.

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Sugarcane bagasse is an abundant and sustainable resource, generated as a by-product of sugarcane milling. The cellulosic material within bagasse can be broken down into glucose molecules and fermented to produce ethanol, making it a promising feedstock for biofuel production. Mild acid pretreatment hydrolyses the hemicellulosic component of biomass, thus allowing enzymes greater access to the cellulosic substrate during saccharification. A particle-scale mathematical model describing the mild acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse has been developed, using a volume averaged framework. Discrete population-balance equations are used to characterise the polymer degradation kinetics, and diffusive effects account for mass transport within the cell wall of the bagasse. As the fibrous material hydrolyses over time, variations in the porosity of the cell wall and the downstream effects on the reaction kinetics are accounted for using conservation of volume arguments. Non-dimensionalization of the model equations reduces the number of parameters in the system to a set of four dimensionless ratios that compare the timescales of different reaction and diffusion events. Theoretical yield curves are compared to macroscopic experimental observations from the literature and inferences are made as to constraints on these “unknown” parameters. These results enable connections to be made between experimental data and the underlying thermodynamics of acid pretreatment. Consequently, the results suggest that data-fitting techniques used to obtain kinetic parameters should be carefully applied, with prudent consideration given to the chemical and physiological processes being modeled.

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ID Code: 63415
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: biofuels, bagasse, mathematical modeling, pretreatment, acid hydrolysis
DOI: 10.1002/bit.24984
ISSN: 0006-3592
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > APPLIED MATHEMATICS (010200) > Applied Mathematics not elsewhere classified (010299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > TECHNOLOGY (100000) > INDUSTRIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY (100300) > Bioprocessing Bioproduction and Bioproducts (100302)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities
Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com
Deposited On: 17 Oct 2013 01:59
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2015 10:07

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