High-solids lignocellulosic pretreatment using NaOH followed by high-solids enzymatic hydrolysis was evaluated for an on-farm biochemical conversion process. Increasing the solids loadings for these processes has the potential for increasing glucose concentrations and downstream ethanol production; however, sequential processing at high-solids loading similar to an on-farm cellulose conversion system has not been studied. This research quantified the effects of high-solids pretreatment with NaOH and subsequent high-solids enzymatic hydrolysis on cellulose conversion. As expected, conversion efficiency was reduced; however, the highest glucose concentration (40.2 g L-1), and therefore the highest potential ethanol concentration, resulted from the high-solids combined pretreatment and hydrolysis. Increasing the enzyme dosage improved cellulose conversion from 9.6% to 36.8% when high-solids loadings were used in both unit operations; however, increasing NaOH loading and pretreatment time did not increase the conversion efficiency. The enzyme-to-substrate ratio had a larger impact on cellulose conversion than the NaOH pretreatment conditions studied, resulting in recommendations for an on-farm bioconversion system.

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Published in Transactions of the ASABE, v. 60, issue 4, p. 1025-1033.

© 2017 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the USDA-NIFA Biomass Research and Development Initiative (Grants No. 11000000836 and No. 2011-10006-30363).

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The investigation reported in this study is a part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station (No. 16-05-087) and is published with the approval of the director.