High efficiency bioethanol production from OPEFB using pilot pretreatment reactor

Minhee Han, Yule Kim, Seung Wook Kim, Gi Wook Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Current ethanol production processes using crops such as corn and sugar cane are well established. However, the utilization of cheaper biomasses such as lignocellulose could make bioethanol more competitive with fossil fuels while avoiding the ethical concerns associated with using potential food resources. Results: Oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB), a lignocellulosic biomass, was pretreated using NaOH to produce bioethanol. The pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis conditions were evaluated by response surface methodology (RSM). The optimal conditions were found to be 127.64 °C, 22.08 min, and 2.89 mol L-1 for temperature, reaction time, and NaOH concentration, respectively. Regarding enzymatic digestibility, 50 FPU g-1 cellulose of cellulase was selected as the test concentration, resulting in a total glucose conversion rate (TGCR) of 86.37% using the Changhae Ethanol Multi Explosion (CHEMEX) facility. Fermentation of pretreated OPEFB using Saccharomyces cerevisiae resulted in an ethanol concentration of 48.54 g L-1 at 20% (w/v) pretreated biomass loading, along with simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) processes. Overall, 410.48 g of ethanol were produced from 3 kg of raw OPEFB in a single run, using the CHEMEX-50 L reactor. Conclusion: The results presented here constitute a significant contribution to the production of bioethanol from OPEFB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1527-1534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec


  • Changhae Ethanol Multi Explosion (CHEMEX)
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis
  • Fermentation
  • Oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB)
  • Response surface methodology (RSM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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