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Keywords:

  • cellulose;
  • ethanol;
  • model validation

Abstract

A kinetic model of cellulosic biomass conversion to ethanol via simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) developed previously was validated experimentally using paper sludge as the substrate. Adsorption parameters were evaluated based on the data obtained at various values for fractional cellulose conversion. The adsorption model was then combined with batch SSF data to evaluate the cellulose hydrolysis parameters. With the parameters evaluated for the specific substrate, the discrete model was able to predict SSF successfully both with discrete addition of cellulase only and with discrete feeding of substrate, cellulase, and media. The model tested in this study extends the capability of previous SSF models to semi-continuous feeding configurations, and invites a mechanistic interpretation of the recently observed trend of increasing conversion with decreasing feeding frequency [Fan et al. (2007a) Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 30(1):27–34]. Our results also support the feasibility and utility of determining adsorption parameters based on data obtained at several conversions, particularly when the model is to be applied to extended reaction times rather than only initial hydrolysis rates. The revised model is considerably more computationally efficient than earlier models, and appears for many conditions to be within the capability of simulation using computational fluid dynamics. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2009;102: 66–72. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.