(564c) The Potential of Cellulosic Ethanol Production From Municipal Solid Waste: A Technical and Economic Evaluation

Authors: 
Yang, B., University of California Riverside
Shi, J., University of California, Riverside
Wyman, C. E., University of California, Riverside
Hua, H., University of Minnesota


Municipal solid waste (MSW) is an attractive cellulosic resource for sustainable production of transportation fuels and chemicals because of its abundance, the need to find uses for this problematic waste, and its low and perhaps negative cost. However, significant heterogeneity and possible toxic contaminants are barriers to biological conversion to ethanol and other products. In this study, we obtained six fractions of sorted MSW from a waste processing facility in Fontana, California: 1) final alternative daily cover (ADC Final); 2) ADC green; 3) woody waste; 4) grass waste; 5) cardboard; and 6) mixed paper. Application of dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment followed by enzymatic hydrolysis gave the highest sugar yields in cardboard and ADC final fractions at enzyme loadings of 100 mg enzyme protein/g sugars of raw materials. Treatment with our non-catalytic protein detoxification technology before adding enzymes improved sugar yields at low enzyme loading of 10 mg enzyme protein/g (glucan plus xylan) of raw materials. Pretreatment with 1% dilute sulfuric acid for 40 min followed by bovine serum albumin (BSA) supplemented enzymatic hydrolysis at an enzyme loading of 10 mg enzyme protein/g glucan recovered 79.1% of potential glucan and 88.2% of potential xylan in solution from ADC final, and 83.3% of potential glucan and 89.1% of potential xylan from ADC green, respectively. Experimental results were incorporated into a process model to determine the economic feasibility of converting MSW to ethanol and identify opportunities for improving the economics. The minimum ethanol selling price for ADC final and ADC green was estimated as $0.6 per gallon and $0.91 per gallon, respectively.