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Advanced techniques for chemical and structural characterization of biomass applied to the industrial production of ethanol from sugarcane bagasse

Grant number: 10/15072-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2011
Effective date (End): May 26, 2014
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal Investigator:Roberto de Campos Giordano
Grantee:Ursula Fabiola Rodríguez Zúniga
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/56246-0 - Bioprocess Systems Engineering (BSE) applied to the production of bioethanol from sugarcane bagasse, AP.BIOEN.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):12/08610-0 - The impact of lignin from sugar cane bagasse upon enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose: biophysical interactions and molecular scale lignin structures, BE.EP.PD


During the last years, the supply of sustainable energy from lignocellulosic feedstock has become a major concern. In this context there many global initiatives from academia, industry and government agencies focusing on the viability of second generation biofuels. DEQ/UFSCar research groups on Bioprocess Development and Automation and on Enzymatic Process Engineering, coordinated by Profs. Roberto de Campos Giordano and Raquel de Lima Giordano, are contributing with these efforts. This research is in closed collaboration with the Agroenergy Laboratory, coordinated by Drs Cristiane Sanches Farinas and Victor Bertucci Neto at Embrapa Agricultural Instrumentation, as part of the BIOEN Thematic Project: BIOPROCESS SYSTEMS ENGINEERING APPLIED TO THE PRODUCTION OF BIOETHANOL FROM SUGARCANE BAGASSE (FAPESP 08/56246-0). The pos-doctorate application is linked to this Thematic Project. More recently, cooperation with the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology laboratory (CTBE) has started, involving Prof. Dr. George Jackson de Moraes Rocha as co-advisor of MSc student, with Prof. Raquel Giordano. It should be stressed that the success of any engineering project depends, among other factors, on the knowledge of feedstock properties and their correlation with the yield of the next conversion processes. Thus, the present post-doctoral research aims at contributing to the over mentioned thematic project, providing insights on competitive technologies for second generation bioethanol. The development of techniques for assessment of microstructural characteristics of sugarcane bagasse after the pretreatment, and the investigation of possible correlations between these characteristics and the yield of the enzymatic hydrolysis and ethanolic fermentation (sequencial or simultaneous) will provide an innovative approach to the problem. In order to help the industrial implementation of this methodology, this project also intends to develop a rapid biomass quantification method, based in near infrared spectroscopy. In this way some disadvantages of conventional techniques for biomass analysis, such as long times, high costs and low reproducibility, may be overcome. As a final product of the research, a library of data and information on relevant parameters will be provided, which may be used as selection criteria between competitive technological options for cellulosic ethanol production. (AU)

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