The grasses in Thailand were analyzed for the potentiality as the alternative energy crops for cellulosic ethanol production by biological process. The average percentage composition of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin in the samples of 18 types of grasses from various provinces was determined as 31.85–38.51, 31.13–42.61, and 3.10–5.64, respectively. The samples were initially pretreated with alkaline peroxide followed by enzymatic hydrolysis to investigate the enzymatic saccharification. The total reducing sugars in most grasses ranging from 500–600 mg/g grasses (70–80% yield) were obtained. Subsequently, 11 types of grasses were selected as feedstocks for the ethanol production by simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF). The enzymes, cellulase and xylanase, were utilized for hydrolysis and the yeasts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia stipitis, were applied for cofermentation at 35°C for 7 days. From the results, the highest yield of ethanol, 1.14 g/L or 0.14 g/g substrate equivalent to 32.72% of the theoretical values was obtained from Sri Lanka ecotype vetiver grass. When the yields of dry matter were included in the calculations, Sri Lanka ecotype vetiver grass gave the yield of ethanol at 1,091.84 L/ha/year, whereas the leaves of dwarf napier grass showed the maximum yield of 2,720.55 L/ha/year (0.98 g/L or 0.12 g/g substrate equivalent to 30.60% of the theoretical values).
The effects of inter‐cutting interval on biomass yield, growth components and chemical composition of napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach) as a source of bioenergy was investigated over 1 year in Thailand. Five cutting intervals (1‐, 2‐, 3‐, 6‐ and 12‐monthly) were examined on three napiergrass cultivars (Bana [hybrid with pearl millet], Common [normal type] and Muaklek [dwarf type]). Peak biomass yield occurred in all cultivars with 3‐month inter‐cutting interval, with a mean of 50.2 t dry matter (DM) ha−1 year−1 averaged across cultivars, while a 6‐month interval produced 46.2 t DM ha−1 year−1. Although cellulose concentration increased as inter‐cutting interval increased, energy concentration in the harvested material also peaked with 3‐monthly cutting. Both Common and Bana were superior to Muaklek in terms of DM production. Further studies are needed to refine harvesting frequency in different seasons to maximize biomass yields while ensuring cash flow and minimizing harvesting costs.
Eight cultivars of napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.), namely Dwarf, Muaklek, Bana, Taiwan A148, Common, Wruk wona, Tifton and Kampheng San, were grown in central Thailand in  and biomass yield, chemical composition and theoretical ethanol yield were measured. Harvests were made every 3 months. Biomass yield and cell wall compositions differed significantly (P < 0.05) among cultivars. Tifton produced the highest annual biomass yield at 58.3 t/ha followed by Wruk wona (52.1 t/ha), while the lowest yield of 27.1 t/ha was in Dwarf. Biomass yield varied with season with highest yields in May and lowest in February during the dry season. Cell wall concentrations were higher in the tall cultivars than in the short ones (Dwarf and Muaklek) (P < 0.05). Theoretical ethanol conversion efficiency ranged from 350 to 460 L/t DM among the cultivars following pretreatment with steam explosion. While a number of cultivars showed significant potential for use as biofuels in central Thailand, Tifton seemed to be the most promising.
The production cost of biodiesel from microalgae is still not competitive, compared with that of petroleum fuels. The genetic improvement of microalgal strains to increase triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation is one way to reduce production costs. One of the most promising approaches is the isolation of starch-deficient mutants, which have been reported to successfully increase TAG yields. To date, such a stable mutant is not available in an oleaginous marine microalga, despite several advantages of using marine species for biodiesel production. Algae in the genus Dunaliella are known to tolerate high salt concentration and other environmental stresses. In addition, the cultivation processes for large-scale outdoor commercialization have been well established for this genus. In this study, Dunaliella tertiolecta was used to screen for starch-deficient mutants, using an iodine vapor-staining method. Four out of 20,016 UV-mutagenized strains showed a substantial reduction of starch content. A significantly higher TAG content, up to 3-fold of the wild-type level, was observed in three of the mutants upon induction by nitrogen depletion. The carotenoid production and growth characteristics of these mutants, under both normal and oxidative stress conditions, were not compromised, suggesting that these processes are not necessarily affected by starch deficiency. The results from this work open up new possibilities for exploring Dunaliella for biodiesel production.
The present study was conducted to determine the effect of spacing on the growth, biomass production and wood quality of leucaena in order to be used as a fuel crop. Leucaena was grown in a field experiment at the Suwanvajokkasikit Research Station, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand in 2006-2010. The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design with 4 replications. The treatment consisted of six spacings (1 × 0.25, 1 × 0.5, 1 × 1, 1 × 1.5, 2 × 0.5 and 2 × 1 m). The results showed that spacing had a significant effect on plant height, diameter at breast height, the number of coppice stumps and biomass yield. Wider spacings resulted in greater plant height. The widest spacing (2 × 1 m) exhibited the higher stem diameter and sprout number than the narrow spacing. The narrowest spacing of 1 × 0.25 m spacing produced the highest total dry weight of leaf, woody stem and biomass yield. The spacing did not have an influence on the heating value and the content of H, N, S, Mg, Cl and ash. However, some of the chemical compositions show significant different with different spacings such as C, O, P, K and Ca content.
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