Alkaline oxidation pretreatment was developed for spruce, birch and sugar cane bagasse. The reaction was carried out in alkaline water solution under 10 bar oxygen pressure and at mild reaction temperature of 120–140 °C. Most of the lignin was solubilised by the alkaline oxidation pretreatment and an easily hydrolysable carbohydrate fraction was obtained. After 72 h hydrolysis with a 10 FPU/g enzyme dosage, glucose yields of 80%, 91%, and 97%, for spruce, birch and bagasse, respectively, were achieved. The enzyme dosage could be decreased to 4 FPU/g without a major effect in terms of the hydrolysis performance. Compared to steam explosion alkaline oxidation was found to be significantly better in the conditions tested, especially for the pretreatment of spruce. In hydrolysis and fermentation at 12% d.m. consistency an ethanol yield of 80% could be obtained with both bagasse and spruce in 1–3 days.
- alkaline oxidation
- enzymatic hydrolysis