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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 298153, 13 pages
Review Article

Bioethanol from Lignocellulosic Biomass: Current Findings Determine Research Priorities

1Key Lab of Bioprocess, College of Life Science and Technology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
2Department of Chemical Engineering, Process and Environmental Technology Lab, KU Leuven, 2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium

Received 9 November 2014; Accepted 18 December 2014; Published 31 December 2014

Academic Editor: Reeta R. Singhania

Copyright © 2014 Qian Kang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


“Second generation” bioethanol, with lignocellulose material as feedstock, is a promising alternative for first generation bioethanol. This paper provides an overview of the current status and reveals the bottlenecks that hamper its implementation. The current literature specifies a conversion of biomass to bioethanol of 30 to ~50% only. Novel processes increase the conversion yield to about 92% of the theoretical yield. New combined processes reduce both the number of operational steps and the production of inhibitors. Recent advances in genetically engineered microorganisms are promising for higher alcohol tolerance and conversion efficiency. By combining advanced systems and by intensive additional research to eliminate current bottlenecks, second generation bioethanol could surpass the traditional first generation processes.