Research Article: An economic and ecological perspective of ethanol production from renewable agro waste: a review

Date Published: December 7, 2012

Publisher: Springer

Author(s): Latika Bhatia, Sonia Johri, Rumana Ahmad.


Agro-industrial wastes are generated during the industrial processing of agricultural products. These wastes are generated in large amounts throughout the year, and are the most abundant renewable resources on earth. Due to the large availability and composition rich in compounds that could be used in other processes, there is a great interest on the reuse of these wastes, both from economical and environmental view points. The economic aspect is based on the fact that such wastes may be used as low-cost raw materials for the production of other value-added compounds, with the expectancy of reducing the production costs. The environmental concern is because most of the agro-industrial wastes contain phenolic compounds and/or other compounds of toxic potential; which may cause deterioration of the environment when the waste is discharged to the nature. Although the production of bioethanol offers many benefits, more research is needed in the aspects like feedstock preparation, fermentation technology modification, etc., to make bioethanol more economically viable.

Partial Text

Since the late 19th century, the mean temperature on earth has increased with 0.8°C and the major part of this increase is likely due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is the type of greenhouse gas with largest emission and this originates from the combustion of fossil fuels as coal, oil and natural gas (Sun and Cheng
2002). In USA, transportation accounts for 30% of the total energy consumption. Burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil releases CO2, which is a major cause of global warming. With only 4.5% of the world’s population, the US is responsible for about 25% of global energy consumption and 25% of global CO2 emissions. The average price of gasoline in 2005 was $2.56 per gallon, which was $0.67 higher than the average price of gasoline in the previous year. Yet in June 2008, the average price of gasoline in the US reached $4.10 per gallon (Kumar et al.

Lignocellulolytic microorganisms, especially fungi, have attracted a great deal of interest as biomass degraders for large-scale applications due to their ability to produce large amounts of extracellular lignocellulolytic enzymes. Many successful attempts have been made to improve fungal lignocellulolytic activity including recombinant and non-recombinant techniques. Process integration has also been considered for the purpose of decreasing the production cost, which was partly achieved by performing hydrolysis and fermentation in a single reactor (SSF) using one or more microorganisms (co-culturing).

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.




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