Using Waste to Clean Up the Environment: Cellulosic Ethanol, the Future of Fuels

EPA Grant Number: SU834325
Title: Using Waste to Clean Up the Environment: Cellulosic Ethanol, the Future of Fuels
Investigators: Garong, Ramon Joshua , Kwon, Christine , Nguyen, Vu , Shi, Jian , Tam, Kawai , Turgman, Anthony
Current Investigators: Wyman, Charles , Garong, Ramon Joshua , Kwon, Christine , Nguyen, Vu , Shi, Jian , Tam, Kawai , Turgman, Anthony
Institution: University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Awards , Sustainability , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


The objective in converting waste, particularly alternative daily cover green (ADC Green), into ethanol is to achieve a maximum yield of glucose and ethanol from this waste stream, a continuous waste stream found in waste facilities across the United States. Increasing the glucose yield will facilitate the transition from lab scale in to a full scale process. The ultimate goal will be to provide sufficient data that prove this process can be used in an industrial setting for mass consumption within the United States


To achieve the maximum yield of glucose from ADC green, we will conduct a three phase experiment. The first phase will explore the different variables associated with the pretreatment process; specifically, the amount of time and temperature the substrate will endure during pretreatment will be explored. The second phase is hydrolysis which will consist of hydrolyzing the solid pretreated substrate via the addition of enzymes, and characterizing hydrolysis by varying bovine serum albumin (BSA, enzyme inhibitor) loading. The liquid solution, consisting of simple sugars extracted from hydrolysis, will then be analyzed for composition as well as percent yield, and then transferred into phase three. During the third and final phase, fermentation will process the simple sugars into ethanol. Moreover, in lieu of conducting fermentation in the laboratory, we will use theoretical and previously calculated data to estimate our process yield (glucose to ethanol conversion).

Expected Results:

Results will be obtained from data gathered by conducting the aforementioned experiments in the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology, under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Bin Yang. Ideal pretreatment conditions must be discovered and applied in order to optimize each process parameter. During pretreatment we anticipate an approximate glucan yield of 40% after the pretreated substrate has been extracted and the liquid solution analyzed. Transferring the pretreated solid substrate into enzymatic hydrolysis we anticipate an 80% conversion of existing complex sugars into simple sugars, leaving ± 20% for refining the enzyme and BSA loading. Finally, for fermentation, we anticipate theoretical calculations to achieve 100% efficiency meaning, all sugars will be converted into ethanol.

Supplemental Keywords:

materials and chemicals, bio-based feed stocks, green energy, toxics, solvents, organics, pollution prevention, alternative energy source, renewable energy, sustainable development, clean technologies, waste to value, innovative technology, renewable, waste minimization, public good, adsorption, transportation, built environment,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report