This paper builds upon a research project funded by the Italian Ministry of Environment, and aims to recover stranded driftwood residues (SDRs), in order to transform a potential pollution and safety issue into valuable bio-resources. In particular, one of the experiments consisted of bioethanol production from lignocellulosic residues. The SDRs were gathered from the Italian coast (Abruzzo Region, Italy) after an intense storm. The biomass recalcitrance, due to its lignocellulosic structure, was reduced by a steam explosion (SE) pretreatment process. Four different pretreatment severity factors (R0
) were tested (LogR0
3.65, 4.05, 4.24 and 4.64) in order to evaluate the pretreated material’s accessibility to enzymatic attack and the holocellulose (cellulose plus hemicellulose) recovery. A first enzymatic hydrolysis was performed on the pretreated materials by employing a solid/liquid (S/L) ratio of 1% (w/w) and an enzyme dosage of 30% (w enzyme/w cellulose), in order to estimate the maximum enzymatically accessible cellulose content. Since the primary goal of pretreatment and hydrolysis is to convert as much cellulose as possible into monomeric glucose and recover all the holocellulose, the two pretreated materials showing these features were selected for bioethanol production process. The pretreated materials underwent a semi-simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSSF). The SSSF process was performed into two lab-scale bioreactors (5 L) with an S/L ratio of 15% and an enzyme dosage of 15% for five days. The efficiency of the whole bioethanol production process was assessed as ethanol overall yields (g ethanol/100 g raw material). The best overall yield was achieved by sample BS04 (8.98 g ethanol/100 g raw material).
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