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Growing energy demand and increasing concern for the security of supply of oil tied with the urge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have led to countries such as the US and European Union (EU) to set targets for replacing petroleum fuels with renewable biofuels.The US Department of Energy has set a goal for supplying 30% of the gasoline demand with biofuels by 2030, and the EU projects 10% of its transportation fuels to be derived from biofuels by 2020 .Using lignin as a solid fuel can cover with an excess all steam and electricity requirements of the process making it a very valuable by-product .
The two steps can be done together in a single step called simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF).
Typical biomass-to-ethanol process flowsheet is shown in Figure 1.
The purpose of this review is to provide features and perspectives on processing of biomass into ethanol.
Emphasis is placed on rheology and mixing of biomass in the enzymatic hydrolysis step as one of the forefront issues in the field.
The key steps of the process, pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation, have undergone considerable amount of research and development over the past decades nearing the process to commercialization.