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Eco-friendly Transformation of Waste Biomass to Biofuels

[ Vol. 6 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Pranav D. Parakh, Sonil Nanda* and Janusz A. Kozinski   Pages 120 - 134 ( 15 )

Abstract:


Background: The development of viable alternative fuel sources is assuming a new urgency in the face of climate change and environmental degradation linked to the escalating consumption of fossil fuels. Lignocellulosic biomass is composed primarily of high-energy structural components such as cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The transformation of lignocellulosic biomass to biofuels requires the application of both pretreatment and conversion technologies.

Methods: Several pretreatment technologies (e.g. physical, chemical and biological) are used to recover cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin from biomass and begin the transformation into biofuels. This paper reviews the thermochemical (e.g. pyrolysis, gasification and liquefaction), hydrothermal (e.g. subcritical and supercritical water gasification and hydrothermal liquefaction), and biological (e.g. fermentation) conversion pathways that are used to further transform biomass feedstocks into fuel products.

Results: Through several thermochemical and biological conversion technologies, lignocellulosic biomass and other organic residues can produce biofuels such as bio-oils, biochar, syngas, biohydrogen, bioethanol and biobutanol, all of which have the potential to replace hydrocarbon-based fossil fuels.

Conclusion: This review paper describes the conversion technologies used in the transformation of biomass into viable biofuels. Biofuels produced from lignocellulosic biomass and organic wastes are a promising potential clean energy source with the potential to be carbon-neutral or even carbonnegative.

Keywords:

Lignocellulosic biomass, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, biofuels, biorefining technologies.

Affiliation:

Department of Chemistry, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Department of Chemistry, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario

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