Using steam explosion pretreatment method for bioethanol production from floodplain meadow hay

Marti Tutt, Timo Kikas, Heike Kahr, Manuel Pointner, Paul Kuttner, Jyri Olt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates influence of the steam explosion pretreatment method at different temperatures on sugar conversion rates and bioethanol production efficiencies from floodplain meadow hay. Floodplain meadow hay is used as a raw material, because these seminatural grasslands need regular maintenance to preserve their high biodiversity. So far, this biomass has been largely unused, but it could provide a good feedstock for bioethanol production. In this work, steam explosion pretreatment is used in combination with enzymatic hydrolysis. Effects of steam explosion pretreatment on the fibre content and cell wall structure are also studied. Results from fibre analysis show, that the floodplain meadow hay has very high lignin content of 24.16%, but relatively low cellulose content of 27.19%. Highest cellulose to glucose conversion rate of 234.6 g kg -1 and ethanol yield of 115.7 g kg -1 of biomass were achieved with the steam explosion pretreatment at 200°C. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show that pretreatment at 150°C does very little damage to plant cells, while steam explosion at 200°C disintegrates most of the plant cell walls and exposes cellulose fibres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalAgronomy Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Bioethanol
  • Floodplain meadow hay
  • Glucose
  • Steam explosion


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