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Abstract

A comprehensive kinetic study of the acid hydrolysis of concentrated brewing bagasse slurries was performed. The use of the simple series reaction model was found to be suitable when a “heterogeneous correction” (pseudosubstrate-inhibition) is taken into account in slurries with low liquid-to-biomass ratios. Rate constants are shown to be dependent not only on temperature and acid concentration but essentially also on the initial biomass concentration. Actual rate constants, activation energies, and acid and substrate reaction orders are reported for xylan, arabinan, and α-glucan acid saccharification. There is a threshold acid loading necessary to overcome the 80% conversion, but no threshold has been found to overcome the “neutralizing” property of cellulosic materials. Reversible acid capture from brewing bagasse has been postulated. The highest monosccharide concentration into hydrolyzates has been found (65 g/L) after 10 h treatment, but economic considerations led us to treat a mean-concentrated slurry (156 g/L) with 0.3M H2SO4 at 96°C, thus obtaining 45.5 g/L monosaccharides in 5 h with 50% less furfural content. After pH regulation only, growth of Clostridium acetobutylicum has been obtained, although complete sugar comsumption has not been achieved. Experiments are now underway to reach complete digestion and to investigate the increase of enzymic accessibility into residual substrate rich in cellulose.