Production of cellulosic ethanol from wood sawdust


  • J. N. Nwakaire University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Sunday L. Ezeoha
  • B. O. Ugwuishiwu Department of Agricultural & Bio-resources, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria


Energy from fossil fuels has played a very important role in our lives, but such an important role has been clouded out due to the environment hazards caused from fossil emissions.  This has led to a new dimension in energy utilization known as renewable energy fuels.  To fully support this type of energy from biological mass, adequate biomass source must be harnessed.  This work thus was carried out to utilize a local available biomass waste as an alternative source of ethanol which is currently used for spark ignition engines as a renewable energy fuel.  It also determined the yield of ethanol from the sawdust used.  The sawdust sample was collected from the Nsukka Sawmill (Timbershade).  Materials used included 18 m (78% concentration) of sulphuric acid, 6 m of sodium hydroxide for hydrolysis, and fermentation process.  The hydrolysis involves the extraction of fermentable sugar from a cellulosic biomass.  The sawdust of sulfuric acid mixture was allowed to sit for 48 hours, then the distilled water was used to dilute in order to bring its pH between 5.0 - 6.0.  10 kg of sawdust gave 500 cm3 of ethanol using Beer-Lambert plot of ethanol water mixture.  The success of the extraction of ethanol shows there are possibilities for improvement.

Keywords: Biofuel, climate change, ethanol yield, fermentation, wood sawdust

Author Biography

J. N. Nwakaire, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Department of Agricultural & Bioresources Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka






IV-Energy in Agriculture