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    Optimisation of Bioethanol Yield from Oilseed Rape Straw


    Bioethanol is an alternative fuel that can be used instead of conventional gasoline (petrol). Currently the main feedstock for commercial bioethanol production are from sugar cane (Brazil) and maize (US). The ethanol produced by using these feedstocks have limitations in achieving higher targets, the issue of using food crops for fuel production  especially as global population increases and are still in terms of sustainability. Due to this reason, modern research is focusing mainly on alternative feedstocks such as lignocellulosic materials.  

    Second generation bioethanol can be produced from agri-wastes such as straw and wood. Production of bioethanol from these materials requires additional processing steps compared to bioethanol production from starch crops. The additional processing steps (referred to as pre-treatment) are needed to extract the sugar monomers from the lignocellulosic material. Several pre-treatment methods exist including steam explosion, dilute acid pre-treatment and wet oxidation. Following pre-treatment and hydrolysis, the sugars extracted from cellulose and hemicellulose materials can be converted to ethanol through microbial fermentation.

    The objectives of this research programmes are to;

    1. Compare pre-treatment techniques for extracting reducible sugars from oilseed rape straw to identify the most appropriate extraction method. 
    2. Identify the most appropriate cell immobilisation matrix for the production of bioethanol (from extracted sugars) in batch and continuous mode.
    3. Identify optimum operating parameters (flow rate, temperature, pH, concentration of immobilised cells). This will enable the maximum possible bioethanol yield to be quantified.
    4. Develop mathematical models enabling bioethanol yield from OSR straw

    Funding Body

    Harper Adams University College


    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K, Crook M. 2011. Dilute acid pre-treatment of Oilseed rape seed straw for bioethanol production, Renewable Energy, 36 (9):2424-2432.

    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K, Crook M. Comparison of pre-treatment techniques for bioethanol production from oilseed rape straw: evaluation of glucose yield and pre-treatment energy consumption, Bioresource Technology, 102 (11):6547-6553.

    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K, Crook M. Comparison of bioethanol production from oilseed rape (Brassica napus) straw by cells immobilised using entrapment and biofilm formation, submitted to Biomass and Bioenergy journal.

    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K, Crook M. 2010.  Acid pre-treatment and enzymatic hydrolysis of rapeseed straw for bioethanol production, Aspects of Applied Biology, 101, Non Food Uses of Crops.

    Presentations and Posters

    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K, Crook M. 2010. Optimisation of bioethanol yield from oilseed rape straw, Energy from Biomass and Waste Conference, London, UK.

    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K, Crook M. 2010. Acid pre-treatment of rapeseed straw for bioethanol production, Non Food Uses of Crops Conference, Bedfordshire, UK.

    Mathew AK, Humphries AC, Chaney K. 2009. Optimisation of bioethanol production from Oilseed rape straw, Poster presentation in the UKERC Annual Assembly/Energy Summer School.

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