Get into the Spirits Part II
Edward Wong
Killarney
Floor Location : M 237 V

In the past decades, the epidemics of mountain pine beetles left BC forests with a sea of red and grey trees across our mountains, which contributed to the forest wild fires. These hazardous forest wastes can be utilized to produce biofuels to ease the growing global demand of renewable energy and limited supply of fossil fuels. The woody biomass contains cellulose and hemicelluloses which can be broken down into reducing sugars. The sugars are then fermented into cellulosic ethanol, a type of biofuel. rnTwo years ago, my science project on cellulosic ethanol did not produce significant results on fermentation of the filtrates after thermal acid pretreatment. It implied more investigations on pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis are needed to improve saccharificiation. In this science project, three types of thermal pretreatments followed by enzymatic hydrolysis of mountain pine beetle killed ponderosa pine sawdust were evaluated for glucose production. I hypothesized that the substrate from organosolv would yield the most glucose, as this pretreatment is able to more effectively separate lignin from the hemicelluloses and cellulose, allowing better access of enzymes to the cellulose. Sulfuric acid at 10% (v/v), ethanol organosolv with a mixture of 10% sulfuric acid and 60% ethanol (v/v), 10% sodium hydroxide (w/v) and distilled water were used as acidic and alkaline chemical catalysts and control respectively. The pretreated substrates were then filtered after one-hour pressure cooking, were dried in microwave, and stored in a freezer for enzymatic hydrolysis by cellulase. The Glucose Assay Kit was used to analyze glucose levels of the hydrolyzed substrates in this experiment.