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Ethanol made from paper

Daniel BuenoWaste paper can be used as a raw material for ethanol production. This is what was shown by researchers at the Biorefinery Center of the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in England. Using shredded waste printer paper, the researchers, headed by Prof. Keith Waldron developed a process in which extraction is performed using simultaneous saccharification—where sugars in the paper fiber are broken down by various types of fungi and enzymes in a bioreactor—and fermentation using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  The liquid produced in the reactor contains 11.6% ethanol. The process was carried out in a laboratory and now needs to be tested in a pilot plant to verify its economic feasibility. In the UK alone, 12 million metric tons of paper is discarded every year. This material can be used to produce ethanol as a fuel or for the chemical industry, in addition to being sustainably recycled. The laboratory ethanol production process and the results of the studies were described in the journal Bioresource Technology (April, 2013).