School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Miscanthus biomass for alternative energy production

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Biomass such as Miscanthus that is produced using phytoremediation can be used as a biofuel. In some locations it is used for heating homes that are located close to where it is produced. This chapter considers alternative energy technologies for Miscanthus and other plants, including liquid fuels such as ethanol, methane from anaerobic digestion, and pyrolysis (thermal Processing). Pretreatment alternatives to convert cellulose to glucose are reviewed because the economics of ethanol production from Miscanthus are impacted by the efficiency of cellulose hydrolysis to glucose. Size reduc tion of Miscanthus is often the first step in the process because enzymes for hydrolysis are more effective when there is large surface area. Ethanol that is produced by fermentation as a liquid is easier and less expensive to transport compared to Miscanthus biomass and methane from anaerobic digestion. Methane that is produced by anaerobic digestion is a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide. It can be used locally as a fuel, but it is expensive to distribute over a significant distance by pipeline. This chapter reviews pretreatment methods for Miscanthus prior to anaerobic digestion. There is a need to make good use of the hemicellulose and lignin because the economics are better when all of the harvested Miscanthus is used with good conversion efficiency.

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Phytotechnology with Biomass Production: Sustainable Management of Contaminated Sites (1st ed.)