Understanding What is Fermentation Process for Biomass
As scientists and researchers come up with more developments on how biomass can be used as source of alternative energy, biomass fermentation also continues to progress. To have a better understanding about biomass fermentation, it is best to deal with the primary question first: What is fermentation process?
Fermentation process is a type of anaerobic enzymatic conversion done to organic compounds. Commonly, carbohydrates are being broken down to much simpler compounds to be able to produce ethyl alcohol. The ethyl alcohol may be utilized to generate energy.
Biomass can also be converted to ethyl alcohol or ethanol fuel which may be directly utilized as an alternative energy source. If fermentation is done to organic compounds to produce ethyl alcohol, what is fermentation process for biomass?
Biomass fermentation definition is best understood if compared to a more common process which is alcohol brewing. The process of deriving ethyl alcohol from biomass is pretty much similar to how alcoholic beverages and other forms of alcohol are produced. When the ethyl alcohol is already derived from the raw biomass materials, it is then converted to become ethanol fuel. This will happen through a process called yeast fermentation that is aided by specific enzymes. The end result of this is ethanol fuel which is the biofuel that can be used as a direct energy source.
Fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass is what yields efficient ethanol fuel. This means that the biomass material that is used is mainly made up of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Biomass materials that are composed of corn or sugarcane can go through the process of fermentation. Other biomass materials that can be fermented may be acquired from agricultural wastes, crops that are grown for energy production, paper waste and wood residues like sawmill dusts.
Heat plays a big role in the entire process of producing ethanol fuel. Biomass fermentation process has to be further developed by scientists and researcher because it has the tendency to negate the goal to come up with alternative energy resource and slow down the use of non renewable materials. That is because in the process of fermenting biomass materials, high temperature is needed. Since the technology has not been fully developed yet, use of non renewable resource may be necessary just to come up with the needed heat. If biomass densification may be incorporated in the process, fermentation can be made more efficient. Densification of biomass produces pellets which can be efficient for generating thermal heat.
Aside from the concern about producing sufficient heat, there are also other biomass fermentation challenges that have to be dealt with. It has been recognized that it takes a lot to grow the crops that will be used as biomatter. It even requires more energy to process and convert it to biofuel. So, there should be a better technology which will make the fermentation process more efficient and beneficial.
Proper information dissemination will reduce the number of people who are asking what the fermentation process is for biomass. There may be glitches in the technology for now but continuous research and developments can potentially turn this into an efficient way of producing alternative energy.