BACKGROUND: In Mediterranean countries, olive tree pruning provides a widely available renewable agricultural residue with, currently, no industrial application. This residue could provide feedstock for the bioethanol industry. In the present study, olive tree pruning biomass pretreated with both ‘liquid hot water’ and ‘dilute-sulfuric acid’ was tested as a substrate for ethanol production. Three different process configurations, separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF), simultaneous saccharification, fermentation and prehydrolysis (PSSF), and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF), were compared at different water-insoluble solids concentrations.
RESULTS: High ethanol concentration of about 3.7% (v/v) was obtained by separate hydrolysis and fermentation or prehydrolysis and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of liquid hot water pretreated at 23% (w/w) substrate loading.
CONCLUSION: The nature of the pretreated residue allows high substrate concentration (≥17% w/w) to be used in the enzymatic hydrolysis step. Substrate loading of 17% DM has been shown to provide a compromise between hydrolysis efficiency and glucose concentrations for the same enzyme/substrate ratio. Prehydrolysis prior to simultaneous saccharification and fermentation facilitated SSF performance at high substrate loading on liquid hot water pretreated olive pruning residue. This effect was not observed with dilute-acid pretreated substrate. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry