Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Bioconversion of industrial hemp to ethanol and methane: The benefits of steam pretreatment and co-production

Kreuger, Emma; Sipos, Balint; Zacchi, Guido; Svensson, Sven-Erik; Bjornsson, Lovisa


Several scenarios for ethanol production, methane production (by anaerobic digestion) and co-production of these, using autumn harvested hemp as substrate, were investigated and compared in terms of gross energy output. Steam pretreatment improved the methane production rate compared with mechanical grinding. The methane yield of steam pretreated stems was similar both with and without pre-hydrolysis with cellulolytic enzymes. Co-production of ethanol and methane from steam pretreated stems gave a high yield of transportation fuel, 11.1-11.7 MJ/kg processed stem dry matter (DM); more than twice that of ethanol production alone from hexoses, 4.4-5.1 MJ/kg processed stem DM. Co-production from the whole hemp plant would give 2600-3000 L ethanol and 2800-2900 m(3) methane, in total 171-180 GJ per 10,000 m(2) of agricultural land, based on a biomass yield of 16 Mg DM. Of this, the yeast and enzymes from ethanol production were estimated to contribute 700 m(3) (27 GJ) of methane. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Biofuel; Biogas; Lignocellulose; Energy crops; Cannabis sativa L.

Published in

Bioresource Technology
2011, volume: 102, number: 3, pages: 3457-3465
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

Authors' information

Kreuger, Emma
Lund University
Sipos, Bálint
Lund University
Zacchi, Guido
Lund University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Agrosystem
Björnsson, Lovisa
Lund University

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Renewable Bioenergy Research

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)