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Bioenergy production from high salinity lignocellulosic biomass: Salicornia bigelovii and Avicennia marina

PI: Dr. Mette Thomsen, Assistant Professor - Chemical Engineering

The integrated seawater agriculture system is composed of three main biological processes, two of which are represented by an oilseed crop (Salicornia Bigelovii) and Mangrove silviculture (Avicennia Marina).  Both crops generate significant amounts of lignocellulosic material in the form of Salicornia Bigelovii straw and Avicennia Marina trimmings. The main focus of this project was to chemically characterize the proposed biomass in terms of energy production potentials; the study has included biomass pretreatment and pretreatment conditions optimization. Basically, the research aimed to best utilize the available saccharides and optimize the valuable components extraction while minimizing the formation of fermentation inhibitors. Moreover, a microbial system was developed for bioenergy production from high salinity pretreated biomass. This study has also discussed the techno-economic evaluation of the proposed process, in terms of the optimal use of biomass fractions and energy penalty determination for the suggested process.