Cellulosic wastes are now recognized as an underutilized renewable resource for both materials and energy recovery rather than a solid waste disposal problem. Acid hydrolysis offers a potentially attractive route for upgrading the value of cellulosic wastes by converting them to glucose. The glucose can then be used as an alternate feedstock to petrochemicals for fuels, intermediates and the synthesis of single cell protein. A key step in this developing technology is a cost effective cellulose waste pretreatment for optimizing the sugar yield. Various experimental approaches for achieving this objective are described. A combination waste cellulose waste feedstock followed by a short time dilute sulfuric acid hydrolysis has been found to be particularly effective. Data are also given on the employment of various organic acids in place of sulfuric acid for the hydrolysis reaction.
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