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Optimizing the alkaline pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse and the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose in reactors

Grant number: 16/11891-1
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2017 - January 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Elisângela de Jesus Cândido Moraes
Grantee:Elisângela de Jesus Cândido Moraes
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Fábio Rodolfo Miguel Batista ; Félix Monteiro Pereira ; João Paulo Alves Silva ; Luis Fernando Figueiredo Faria


The development of an economically viable technology for the lignocellulosic material hydrolysis process meets the concern about the sustainable use of natural resources. The hydrolysis process of different lignocellulosic materials has been done for some time; however, several variables should be further investigated in order to optimize such process, mainly when it comes to Engineering. Nevertheless, some prerequisites such as the establishment of optimal biomass pretreatment conditions (the hydrolysis of the hemicellulosic and cellulosic fractions) - which is a crucial stage of the process -, as well as the optimal hydrolysis reactor conditions and, finally, the study about the material and power balance involved in the entire process are necessary in order to make such process economically competitive. Thus, the aim of the current project is to investigate the best conditions for the alkaline pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse and for the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose. The cellulosic hydrolysate may be subsequently used by other research groups in the unit to produce second-generation ethanol. In addition, the balance and the scale-up of the material and power used in the process will be performed as a way to optimize the prototype of a hydrolysis unit developed to produce cellulosic hydrolysate from sugarcane bagasse. The study will be an innovation in the Chemical Engineering Department of the Engineering School of Lorena. A statistical software will be used to treat the variables involved in the proposed stages. Furthermore, the project proposes conducting a technical and economic analysis through the simulation tools Aspen Plus and MATLAB, which will allow identifying the critical points and suggesting possible alternatives to improve the process. Therefore, the project also aims at enhancing the Engineering studies in the Institution and requires the acquisition of a 5L-volume hydrolysis bench-scale reactor, among other things, in order to be implemented. Such acquisition will improve the poor infrastructure of the Chemical Engineering Department. (AU)