Energy transition toward low carbon, high sustainable and efficient generation and distribution systems will change the supply matrix of the world and create new opportunities but challenges still remain. Energy generation from biomass, or bioenergy, is one of such renewable sources and its use might be generalized in the following years. Bioenergy is a very promising strategy to provide energy not only for mobility but also for onsite places for heat and power generation. Besides, bioenergy differentiates from other renewable energies that biomass may be the source of a myriad of molecules enabling the bio-based economy and allowing the replacement in an extent of solvents, petrochemicals, and polymers produced by the petroleum industry. Biomass is generally composed of some large polymers found in nature such as cellulose, hemicellulose, proteins, starch, chitin, and lignin. The latter is a complex phenylpropanoid biopolymer conferring mechanical strength to plant cell walls and one of major spread in nature along with cellulose and chitin. Lignin has a plenty of potential uses in modern bio-based economy, from conventional paper industry uses to more challenging conversion to useful chemicals, materials, and clean biofuels. This chapter undertakes a rapid overview on lignin applications in order to describe the basis of a lignin-based economy.
Part of the book: Lignin
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