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    This review presents a comprehensive discussion of the key technical issues in woody biomass pretreatment: barriers to efficient cellulose saccharification, pretreatment energy consumption, in particular energy consumed for wood-size reduction, and criteria to evaluate the performance of a pretreatment. A post-chemical pretreatment size-reduction approach is proposed to significantly reduce mechanical energy consumption. Because the ultimate goal of biofuel production is net energy output, a concept of pretreatment energy efficiency (kg/MJ) based on the total sugar recovery (kg/kg wood) divided by the energy consumption in pretreatment (MJ/kg wood) is defined. It is then used to evaluate the performances of three of the most promising pretreatment technologies: steam explosion, organosolv, and sulfite pretreatment to overcome lignocelluloses recalcitrance (SPORL) for softwood pretreatment. The present study found that SPORL is the most efficient process and produced highest sugar yield. Other important issues, such as the effects of lignin on substrate saccharification and the effects of pretreatment on high-value lignin utilization in woody biomass pretreatment, are also discussed.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Zhu, J.Y.; Pan, X.J. 2010. Woody biomass pretreatment for cellulosic ethanol production : technology and energy consumption evaluation. Bioresource Technology. 101: 4992-5002.


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    Pretreatment, woody biomass, forest biomass, enzymatic hydrolysis, saccharification, cellulosic ethanol, size reduction, alcohol, fuelwood, biomass energy, biomass, utilization, biotechnology, energy consumption, sugars, lignocellulose, biodegradation, cellulose, hydrolysis, feedstock, lignin, enzymes, industrial applications, SPORL, biomass fuel, ethanol, bioconversion, biorefining, wood extractives, chemical utilization, review article

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