From plants to biofuel: An explanation of biomass pre-treatment
Bioethanol plant at Seal Sands, Teeside, UK [Image source: Nick Bramhall, Flickr]
Renewable energy from biomass is now a key component of renewable energy development worldwide. The fuel used for this process, known as feedstocks, consist of lignocellulosic biomass, that is to say plants with a complex structure containing polymers of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Typically, these are materials such as straw, corn stover, switchgrass or wood waste, mostly used for the production of biofuels, such as bioethanol, which must be subjected to a process of fermentation in which the sugars turn to alcohol (ethanol being a form of alcohol).