VTT researches how to use willow biomass more efficiently for ethanol

March 30, 2016 |

In Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University investigated how willow biomass can be utilized more efficiently. When processed correctly, willow is eminently suitable as a source of sugar in the production of ethanol. The lignin fraction formed as a by-product of the ethanol process and the fibres and compounds of willow bark are suitable for the manufacture of environmentally friendly chemicals and bio-based materials.

According to the results of the joint project of VTT and Aalto University, after appropriate preparation and enzymatic hydrolysis, willow is highly suitable as a source of sugar in ethanol production. The ethanol yield improved substantially when the willow bark was first separated from the biomass before steam explosion and yeast fermentation. A lignin-containing residue is produced in the ethanol manufacturing process from which various bio-based chemicals and materials can be manufactured.

It will be possible to utilise the results of the new research on using willow in ethanol production in industry using existing technology, especially if industrial or farm scale equipment suitable for debarking is available.

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Category: Research

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