The use of sugarcane bagasse pith as solid substrate for fungi and microbial growth is well known, as well as a source of microorganisms that can be isolated from it. Pith has also been used as a bulking agent for soil bioremediation. More recently, bagasse pith has been used for bioethanol production involving pretreatment and hydrolysis followed by fermentation and dehydration. However, little is reported about biomass valorization for the development of environmentally sound and innovative strategies to process sugarcane bagasse from sugar mills. Incineration of sugarcane bagasse pith is a very common and mature technology for waste disposal and generation of electrical and thermal energy. However, this approach may not be satisfactory in organic waste management due to pollutant emissions, economic and labor costs, loss of energy, and bad odor. In addition, no valuable product is generated from its decomposition process. Instead of incineration, recent research has focused on its utilization as biofuel source. In this chapter, the use of sugarcane bagasse pith as a waste material for incineration versus biomass to produce bioethanol is discussed in terms of energy ratio and emissions, in addition to elucidate the potential of sugarcane bagasse valorization for a more sustainable society.
Part of the book: Sugarcane