Influence of sugarcane bagasse variability on sugar recovery for cellulosic ethanol production
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In the context of cellulosic ethanol production, special attention must be given to the raw material, as it affects final product yield. As observed for sugarcane, bagasse variations may derive from several elements, for instance edaphoclimatic factors, seasonality, maturation stage and harvesting techniques. Therefore, in the present work, to investigate the impact of raw material characteristics on process performance, sugarcane bagasse from four harvests from October/2010 to October/2011 was pretreated by steam explosion and had its soluble and insoluble solids contents measured, following enzymatic hydrolysis to assess glucan conversion. As confirmed by ANOVA, glucose concentration was related to the solids content in the reactor, whereas glucan conversion was related to the enzymatic load. Variations in raw material composition were indeed observed to significantly interfere in the final sugar recovery, probably due to the increase in the impurities observed as a result of the type of harvest performed in 2011.