The Feasibility of Using Cattails from Constructed Wetlands to Produce Bioethanol
This project investigates the feasibility of harvesting the cattails in the constructed wetlands of the North Carolina A&T Farm to be converted into ethanol. Using the cattails to produce renewable energy will add value to the land as well as reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by replacing petroleum products. Pretreatment of the dried cattails with dilute NaOH was followed by solid-liquid separation and enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of the solids. Two trials gave an average conversion efficiency of 43.4% for the pretreated solids alone which, in conjunction with the crop yield for the cattails, would give up to 4,012 L ethanol/ha, a favorable comparison with corn stover’s 1,665 L/ha at a 60% conversion rate. Given the high potential – 9,680 L/ha at 60% conversion efficiency for solid and liquid streams – and the social and environmental benefits gained by adding value to the waste management system and reducing carbon emissions otherwise made by gasoline, it is recommended that further studies be made using cattails as a feedstock for bioethanol.
KeywordsEnzymatic Hydrolysis Corn Stover High Pressure Liquid Chromatography Ethanol Yield Life Cycle Analysis
Many thanks are extended to Kevin Jenkins and Crystal Biddle for their research assistance.
- Badger, P. 2002. “Ethanol from Cellulose: a General Review.” In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (Eds.), Trends in New Crops and New Uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.Google Scholar
- Fraser, J. 2006. Best Kept Secret in the Ethanol Industry: BlueFire Ethanol (BFRE). Seeking Alpha: Stock Market Opinions and Analysis. Online at http://seekingalpha.com.
- Gelt, J. 1997. “Constructed Wetlands: Using Human Ingenuity, Natural Processes to Treat Water, Build Habitat.” Arroyo , March 1997, 9(4).Google Scholar
- Perlack, R., L. Wright, A. Turhollow, R. Graham, B. Stokes, and D. Erbach. 2005. “Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: the Technical Feasibility of a Billion-ton Annual Supply.” A joint study sponsored by US DOE and USDA. Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 15 December 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Reith, J., H. den Uil, H. van Veen, W. de Laat, J. Niessen, E. de Jong, H. Elbersen, R. Weusthuis, J. van Dijken, L. Raamsdonk. 2002. “Co-production of Bioethanol, Electricity and Heat from Biomass Residues.” In: Twelfth European Conference and Technology Exhibition on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
- Walthers, T., P. Hensirisak, and F. Agblevor. 2001. “Model Compound Studies: Influence of Aeration and Hemicellulosic Sugars on Xylitol Production by Candida Tropicalis.” Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 91–93:423–435.Google Scholar
- Wang, M. 2005. “The Debate on Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impacts of Fuel Ethanol.” Argonne National Laboratory. Energy Systems Division Seminar. Chicago, IL, 3 August 2005.Google Scholar