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Economics of the hydrolysis of cellulosic sludge to glucose

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Cellulosic sludge from paper mills making bleached products can be enzymatically converted to glucose. A kinetic model that accounts for product inhibition was used to estimate the cost:benefits of the process. In the proposed scheme, the sludge is enzymatically hydrolyzed in a sequence of CSTRs, the ash separated, and the product glucose concentrated through reverse osmosis. The water recovered is mostly recycled. By far, the most important economic variable is the value of the glucose. However, even if the glucose is assumed to be of no value the avoided cost of sludge disposal approximately offsets the process costs. The approach should generate significant revenue if the glucose is valued at market.

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This work was partially funded by the Eka Chemicals division of Akzo Nobel. Sandeep Mora thanks the Institute of Paper Science and Technology for fellowship support.

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Correspondence to Sujit Banerjee.

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Mora, S., Banerjee, S. Economics of the hydrolysis of cellulosic sludge to glucose. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 36, 1039–1042 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00449-012-0856-4

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  • Enzyme
  • Sludge
  • Fiber
  • Glucose