Session S41a (Tuesday, 9:30am, Wartik 110)

P395: Synthesis of ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks

Christine Hermann, Madison Gardner, Dana Saft, Jacob Shelton, Jonathan Tyree (Radford University, USA)

Ethanol’s importance as a biofuel additive has grown in recent years and has brought about the need for a renewable source of fermentation material.  This research explores fermentation of various cellulosic feedstocks such as bamboo leaves, grasses, cotton, and the university student newspaper.  Pretreatment methods were explored in order to determine the most efficient process for hydrolyzing the cellulose content into a fermentable medium.  These methods include acid and base hydrolysis, using varying reagent concentrations, paired with physical breakdown of the sample.  The treated material was then neutralized, mixed with dry active yeast, allowed to ferment for at least seven days, and distilled in a fractional distillation apparatus.  Purity of ethanol product was determined by refractive index and evaluated in efficiency as a percentage of mass of ethanol per mass of feedstock.

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