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Conversion of Sugar Cane Biomass into Ethanol (CaneBioFuel)
Start date: Mar 1, 2009, End date: Feb 28, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims at developing the first cost-effective and industrially viable process for converting sugar cane bagasse and trash (i.e. sugar cane biomass) into fermentable sugars. Furthermore, the aim is to integrate such a process with existing production of 1st Generation ethanol based on sugar cane. In order to develop such a process, a deeper knowledge about the structural components of sugar cane biomass will be investigated with the aim of capturing the easier fraction of the cellulose sugars. Furthermore, the project will focus on developing a detailed understanding of the dynamic impact between pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis in order to specifically design the process and enzymes for cost-effective cellulose conversion. The consortium, which builds on an already established partnership, involves leading industry and Academic partners within the relevant fields from Europe and Latin America. The main technical barriers in the project relate to the application of an integrated approach, achieving economically attractive production of 2nd generation ethanol based on sugar cane biomass as opposed to converting biomass into energy or other alternative use. Moreover, challenges are related to achieving process compatibility with existing plants and the accomplishment of a simple and cheap process. The proposed project will focus on the following RTD activities: - Detailed characterization of structural components in sugar cane bagasse and trash - Understanding the treatability of various fractions - Pretreatment of biomass with focus on integration with existing technology - Enzyme development for improved cellulose hydrolysis - Process simulation and cost estimation
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