Dr. Harry Cullinan, director of the Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresources Engineering, along with professor of chemical engineering Dr. Yoon Y. Lee, senior research fellow Dr. Sung-Hoon Yoon and several graduate students have partnered with Masada Resource Group to produce ethanol from the waste of pulp and paper mills.
The researchers have developed a way to break down fiber found in wood to make ethanol.
According to Cullinan, Auburn’s patent for the technologies to make the ethanol has three components:
- Extracting the hemicellulose (a fiber found in wood chips) from the wood using a simple hot water method.
- Combining those sugars with the sugars from the sludge to produce ethanol.
- And manufacturing the enzyme needed to do the fermentation to convert the hemicellulose into ethanol.
Cullinan said that if this technology was adopted in all the paper/pulp mills in the country, it had the potential to produce hundreds of millions of gallons of ethanol.
Source : Opelika-Auburn News