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A demonstration study of ethanol production from sweet sorghum stems with advanced solid state fermentation technology

Li, Shizhong, Li, Guangming, Zhang, Lei, Zhou, Zhixing, Han, Bing, Hou, Wenhui, Wang, Jingbing, Li, Tiancheng
Applied energy 2013 v.102 pp. 260-265
Sorghum bicolor, cost effectiveness, energy costs, energy crops, ethanol, ethanol fuels, ethanol production, fermenters, prices, solid state fermentation, stems, sugar content, sugars, sweet sorghum, China
Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a promising energy crop for biofuel production. A demonstration study on cost-effective conversion of fermentable sugars in sweet sorghum stems into ethanol with advanced solid-state fermentation technology is presented in this paper. A continuous solid-state fermenter, which is 55m in length and 3.6m in diameter, is successfully operated in Inner Mongolia, China in 2011. Results show that the retention time (fermentation time) of the solid substrate is less than 30h, and the ethanol yield reaches 90.5% of the theoretical yield. A total of 16ton of sweet sorghum stems (with 13.5% sugar content and 70% moisture) are used to produce 1ton of ethanol (99.5%, v/v). The cost of fuel ethanol production is $615.4per ton (49cent/liter) on the premise that the price of the sweet sorghum stems is $30per ton.