The snowballing demands for cleaner fuel from the transport and industrial sectors has made many believe that biofuel production is the panacea. Is E85 (a laboratory made ethanol based fuel) the cure for the world’s dependence on fossil fuels? A keen look exposes a more critical conundrum; the production of E85 destroys human food. With 1 in 8 people suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010- 2012, this production is not justifiable. Biofuels are produced through the break down of plants’ cellulosic components (lignocellulose LC) into glucose and then into ethanol. However, two main challenges remain: 1) finding a cheap, reliable and non-food source of LC; i.e. having high cellulose content, and 2; developing a cheap, clean, and reliable conversion/pre-treatment system. Dissolution of cellulosic material in ionic liquids, or ILs (a unique class of solvents) has been reported to make the material susceptible to chemical attack by various reagents/catalysts/acids. Digitaria sanguinalis (hairy crabgrass, a weed) is reported to have high cellulose content. In this research, crabgrass was pre-treated with a series of imidazolium ionic liquids, for 3, 6, and 9 hours followed by acid hydrolysis. The results attained so far, including those of glucose and total reducing sugar quantification work are presented and discussed.
Ofri, Dylan and Gikonyo, Barnabas
"An Ionic Liquid Pretreatment System of Digitaria sanguinalis,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2014
, Article 9.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2014/iss1/9