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Algal biomass conversion to bioethanol – a step-by-step assessment


Harun, Mohd Razif and Yip, Jason W. S. and Thiruvenkadam, Selvakumar and Wan Ab. Karim Ghani, Wan Azlina and Cherrington, Tamara and Danquah, Michael Kobina (2014) Algal biomass conversion to bioethanol – a step-by-step assessment. Biotechnology Journal, 9 (1). pp. 73-86. ISSN 1860-6768; ESSN: 1860-7314


The continuous growth in global population and the ongoing development of countries such as China and India have contributed to a rapid increase in worldwide energy demand. Fossil fuels such as oil and gas are finite resources, and their current rate of consumption cannot be sustained. This, coupled with fossil fuels' role as pollutants and their contribution to global warming, has led to increased interest in alternative sources of energy production. Bioethanol, presently produced from energy crops, is one such promising alternative future energy source and much research is underway in optimizing its production. The economic and temporal constraints that crop feedstocks pose are the main downfalls in terms of the commercial viability of bioethanol production. As an alternative to crop feedstocks, significant research efforts have been put into utilizing algal biomass as a feedstock for bioethanol production. Whilst the overall process can vary, the conversion of biomass to bioethanol usually contains the following steps: (i) pretreatment of feedstock; (ii) hydrolysis; and (iii) fermentation of bioethanol. This paper reviews different technologies utilized in the pretreatment and fermentation steps, and critically assesses their applicability to bioethanol production from algal biomass. Two different established fermentation routes, single-stage fermentation and two-stage gasification/fermentation processes, are discussed. The viability of algal biomass as an alternative feedstock has been assessed adequately, and further research optimisation must be guided toward the development of cost-effective scalable methods to produce high bioethanol yield under optimum economy.

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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering
DOI Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/biot.201200353
Publisher: Wiley-VCH Verlag
Keywords: Algae; Bioethanol; Fermentation; Gasification; Hydrolysis
Depositing User: Nabilah Mustapa
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 12:33
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 04:33
Altmetrics: http://www.altmetric.com/details.php?domain=psasir.upm.edu.my&doi=10.1002/biot.201200353
URI: http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/36354
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