2004 Progress Report: Conversion of Paper Sludge to Ethanol

EPA Grant Number: R829479C006
Subproject: this is subproject number 006 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829479
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc., Environmental Research and Technology Transfer Program
Center Director: Schumacher, Dorin
Title: Conversion of Paper Sludge to Ethanol
Investigators: Lynd, Lee
Institution: Dartmouth College
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2004
Project Period Covered by this Report: July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004
RFA: The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc., Environmental Research and Technology Transfer Program (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Targeted Research

Objective:

The objectives of this research project are to:

  1. develop the process of converting paper sludge to ethanol, including reactor design and improvement, process optimization, and testing new microorganisms for glucose and xylose conversion;
  2. and conduct the process design and evaluate technical and economic viability of converting paper sludge to ethanol in full commercial scale.

Progress Summary:

During the reporting period, we focused on testing a new microorganism for xylose conversion, lowering cellulase usage by process optimization, and conducting process design and economic analysis to evaluate the technical and economic viability of converting paper sludge to ethanol in a full commercial scale.

Because the sludge studied contains a substantial amount of xylose, which cannot be utilized by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, experiments were conducted to evaluate the ability of Escherichia coli KO11 to convert both glucan and xylan during simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF). We found that similar results were obtained in LB medium and in medium consisting of M9 salts supplemented with 1 percent corn steep liquor. A material balance showed that glucan, xylan, and mannan originating from paper sludge were all converted at high yield to ethanol. E. coli KO11 showed the potential to be adopted as the microorganism to convert both glucose and xylose in paper sludge in terms of preliminary batch results. We are further testing the performance of E. coli KO11 as the ethanologen in semicontinuous culture.

Because the cellulase enzymes represent a substantial cost for the bioconversion of cellulose to ethanol via SSF, lowering the cellulase loading (units/g cellulose) is one of the process optimization goals. We worked on optimizing the process configuration to lower the cellulase usage. Our experimental results indicated that glucan conversion can be increased by decreasing the feeding frequency (residence time/feeding interval) at a fixed cellulase loading. A 95.4 percent glucan conversion at 10 FPU/g cellulose loading was achieved when the feed frequency was 1.33 and residence was 4 days. A similar conversion of 92 percent was achieved using 20 FPU/g cellulose loading when feeding frequency was 8. In another set of experiments with a different sludge, the conversion improved from 79 to 92 percent using 5 FPU/g cellulose loading and 60 IU/g cellulose β-glucosidase loading when the feeding frequency was reduced from 8 to 1.33 and residence time was held constant at 4 days.

Technical and economic viability of an industrial facility producing ethanol from paper sludge at Nexfor Fraser’s Gorham paper mill was investigated under two scenarios. Scenario one is based on technology demonstrated at Dartmouth at a laboratory scale. Scenario two is based on technology that is not yet demonstrated at Dartmouth, but is expected to be available for incorporation into a commercial plant with construction initiated in 2 years, assuming an aggressive development effort. Positive cash flow is realized for both scenarios, with gross income exceeding expenses by 1.8 fold in scenario one and 2.7 fold in scenario two. Total capital investment is projected to be less than $5 million, which is lower than possible for more typical cellulosic feedstocks.

Future Activities:

We plan to work on advancing the technology (e.g., testing various pentose-utilizing organisms) as well as finding opportunities for commercial application.


Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 6 publications 1 publications in selected types All 1 journal articles
Other center views: All 211 publications 48 publications in selected types All 44 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Fan ZL, South C, Lyford K, Munsie J, van Walsum P, Lynd LR. Conversion of paper sludge to ethanol in a semicontinuous solids-fed reactor. Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering 2003;26(2):93-101. R829479 (2006)
R829479C006 (2004)
R829479C006 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract
    Exit
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    semi-continuous, solids-fed, paper sludge, economic analysis, process design, cellulase, ethanol, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Escherichia coli, cellulose, xylan, ferment, microorganism, ß-glucosidase, feeding frequency, sustainable industry/business, treatment/control, waste, agricultural engineering, bioremediation, environmental engineering, geochemistry, new/innovative technologies, technology, treatment technologies, biodegradation, bioenergy, bioengineering, biotechnology, plant biotechnology,, Scientific Discipline, Waste, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Treatment Technologies, Geochemistry, Technology, New/Innovative technologies, Bioremediation, Environmental Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, bioengineering, paper sludge, biodegradation, ethanol, biotechnology, plant biotechnology, remediation, semicontinuous solid state fermentation

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.cpbr.org Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829479    The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc., Environmental Research and Technology Transfer Program

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829479C001 Plant Genes and Agrobacterium T-DNA Integration
    R829479C002 Designing Promoters for Precision Targeting of Gene Expression
    R829479C003 aka R829479C011 Biological Effects of Epoxy Fatty Acids
    R829479C004 Negative Sense Viral Vectors for Improved Expression of Foreign Genes in Insects and Plants
    R829479C005 Development of Novel Plastics From Agricultural Oils
    R829479C006 Conversion of Paper Sludge to Ethanol
    R829479C007 Enhanced Production of Biodegradable Plastics in Plants
    R829479C008 Engineering Design of Stable Immobilized Enzymes for the Hydrolysis and Transesterification of Triglycerides
    R829479C009 Discovery and Evaluation of SNP Variation in Resistance-Gene Analogs and Other Candidate Genes in Cotton
    R829479C010 Woody Biomass Crops for Bioremediating Hydrocarbons and Metals
    R829479C011 Biological Effects of Epoxy Fatty Acids
    R829479C012 High Strength Degradable Plastics From Starch and Poly(lactic acid)
    R829479C013 Development of Herbicide-Tolerant Energy and Biomass Crops
    R829479C014 Identification of Receptors of Bacillus Thuringiensis Toxins in Midguts of the European Corn Borer
    R829479C015 Coordinated Expression of Multiple Anti-Pest Proteins
    R829479C016 A Novel Fermentation Process for Butyric Acid and Butanol Production from Plant Biomass
    R829479C017 Molecular Improvement of an Environmentally Friendly Turfgrass
    R829479C018 Woody Biomass Crops for Bioremediating Hydrocarbons and Metals. II.
    R829479C019 Transgenic Plants for Bioremediation of Atrazine and Related Herbicides
    R829479C020 Root Exudate Biostimulation for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon Phytoremediation
    R829479C021 Phytoremediation of Heavy Metal Contamination by Metallohistins, a New Class of Plant Metal-Binding Proteins
    R829479C022 Development of Herbicide-Tolerant Energy and Biomass Crops
    R829479C023 A Novel Fermentation Process for Butyric Acid and Butanol Production from Plant Biomass
    R829479C024 Development of Vectors for the Stoichiometric Accumulation of Multiple Proteins in Transgenic Crops
    R829479C025 Chemical Induction of Disease Resistance in Trees
    R829479C026 Development of Herbicide-Tolerant Hardwoods
    R829479C027 Environmentally Superior Soybean Genome Development
    R829479C028 Development of Efficient Methods for the Genetic Transformation of Willow and Cottonwood for Increased Remediation of Pollutants
    R829479C029 Development of Tightly Regulated Ecdysone Receptor-Based Gene Switches for Use in Agriculture
    R829479C030 Engineered Plant Virus Proteins for Biotechnology