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Keywords:

  • fuel ethanol;
  • mathematical modeling;
  • cell-free process;
  • glycolysis;
  • optimization;
  • ethanol production rate

Abstract

The production of fuel ethanol from renewable resources as an economically viable alternative to gasoline is currently the subject of much research. Most studies seek to improve process efficiency by increasing the rate of ethanol production; ultimately, this approach will be limited by the selected ethanol-producing microorganism. Cell-free ethanol production, using only the enzymes involved in the conversion of glucose to ethanol, may offer a practical and beneficial alternative. Mathematical modeling of such a system has suggested that a cell-free process should be capable of producing ethanol much more efficiently than the microbial based process. This finding along with other potential benefits of a microorganism-free process suggests that a cell-free process might significantly improve the economy of fuel ethanol production and is a worthy target for further research. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry