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Ethanol Production from Food Waste at High Solids Content with Vacuum Recovery Technology

Huang, Haibo, Qureshi, Nasib, Chen, Ming-Hsu, Liu, Wei, Singh, Vijay
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2015 v.63 no.10 pp. 2760-2766
biofuels, culture media, ethanol, ethanol production, fermentation, food waste, glucose, waste utilization, yeasts
Ethanol production from food wastes does not only solve environmental issues but also provides renewable biofuels. This study investigated the feasibility of producing ethanol from food wastes at high solids content (35%, w/w). A vacuum recovery system was developed and applied to remove ethanol from fermentation broth to reduce yeast ethanol inhibition. A high concentration of ethanol (144 g/L) was produced by the conventional fermentation of food waste without a vacuum recovery system. When the vacuum recovery is applied to the fermentation process, the ethanol concentration in the fermentation broth was controlled below 100 g/L, thus reducing yeast ethanol inhibition. At the end of the conventional fermentation, the residual glucose in the fermentation broth was 5.7 g/L, indicating incomplete utilization of glucose, while the vacuum fermentation allowed for complete utilization of glucose. The ethanol yield for the vacuum fermentation was found to be 358 g/kg of food waste (dry basis), higher than that for the conventional fermentation at 327 g/kg of food waste (dry basis).