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Title: Potential for bamboo as a feedstock for lignocellulosic biofuel production
Author: Littlewood, Jade
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the potential for bamboo to be a feedstock for the production of lignocellulosic biofuels. This was assessed from the perspectives of technology, economics and policy, and discusses the main drivers that could help or hinder the viability of such a process at the commercial scale. Three pretreatment technologies (liquid hot water, soaking in aqueous ammonia and dilute acid) and various enzyme loadings were explored as potential processing routes for converting bamboo into bioethanol; these conditions were compared based on the criteria of maximising sugar release and thus total ethanol production. Aspen Plus modelling software was used to simulate the conversion process at a scaled up level of 2,000 dry metric tonnes of bamboo per day. The generated mass and energy balances were used in a discounted cash flow analysis to yield the minimum production price for bamboo-derived bioethanol based on a reference year of 2011. Two case study scenarios (China and Colombia) were modelled as potential locations for establishing a bamboo to bioethanol process. Bioethanol from bamboo in China and Colombia was also compared with bioethanol derived from other lignocellulosic feedstocks (wheat straw and short-rotation coppice poplar) in various locations, and its competitiveness with fossil-based fuels at the pump was assessed. This research demonstrated that bioethanol from bamboo can be just as, if not more competitive than bioethanol from other lignocellulosic resources provided that certain criteria are fulfilled. The main determinants responsible for establishing a future in the alternative fuel market included maintaining a balance between the major factors relating to technology (achieving relatively high sugar yields with low enzyme usage), economics (obtaining low costs for feedstock and high credits for electricity generation), and policy (establishing these conditions in a location with strong policy support for bioethanol).
Supervisor: Murphy, Richard J. ; Turnbull, Colin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral