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A review of sweet sorghum as a viable renewable bioenergy crop and its techno-economic analysis
- Appiah-Nkansah, Nana Baah, Li, Jun, Rooney, William, Wang, Donghai
- Renewable energy 2019 v.143 pp. 1121-1132
- C4 plants, agronomic traits, bagasse, bioethanol, biomass, coproducts, cultivars, energy crops, ethanol, feedstocks, fructose, glucose, heat, hydrolysis, juices, lignocellulose, potential energy, sorghum stalks, starch, sucrose, sweet sorghum
- Sweet sorghum, a C4 plant, is known to be a unique, versatile, and potential energy crop that can be separated into starchy grains, soluble sugar juice, and lignocellulosic biomass. The fermentable sugars in the juice (53–85% sucrose, 9–33% glucose, and 6–21% fructose) can be directly fermented into ethanol. The grain is primarily starch (62–75%), which can be hydrolyzed and fermented into ethanol. The bagasse, a fibrous lignocellulosic material, can be used to produce cellulosic ethanol, heat and/or power co-generation. In this review, the potential of sweet sorghum for bioenergy production (of various forms) using recently developed cultivars with improved agronomic performance was discussed. In addition, sweet sorghum was compared with other starch, sugar, and lignocellulosic feedstocks. Studies have been conducted on alternative pathways to convert whole sweet sorghum stalks and bagasse into bioenergy. However, very little review of the techno-economic analysis of bioenergy production and co-products from sweet sorghum has been published. The aim of this research was to review the current knowledge of agronomic requirement for cultivating sweet sorghum, the productivity of recently developed cultivars for bioenergy production, and pathways of converting sweet sorghum crop into bioenergy as well as the techno-economic feasibility of using sweet sorghum for bioenergy.