Keywords: organic waste, municipal solid waste, biofuels, pre–treatment processes, pilot plants, fuel production, lignocelluloses, fermentation, enzymatic hydrolysis, valorisation, solid waste management, waste treatment
On the pre–treatment of municipal organic waste towards fuel production: a review
Lignocelluloses are the main constituents of municipal organic waste (MOW). In order to increase the production of fuels, via fermentations, the enzymatic hydrolysis is the first step towards a valorisation process. It is well–known that the hydrolysis of lignocelluloses is not very effective because of the high stability of the constituents. In this respect the pre–treatment of MOW is necessary to increase the efficiency of the biological processes. Several pre–treatment processes are reviewed and analysed in the paper and the drawbacks are pointed out. The fundamental scientific features are highlighted and details are given on the technological parameters. The increase in the availability of sugars after pre–treatment seems to be rather high. The necessity of setting up a design procedure and defining scale–up criteria for the full scale pre–treatment of MOW are problems that still need to be overcome in order to extend the technology to MSW treatment field. A pilot plant of adequate potentiality is shown in an attempt to cover this gap.