a1 University of California–Riverside, USA
Although ethanol is now made from the sugars in the starch fraction of corn and other crops and from the sugar in sugarcane, a much greater impact for ethanol in terms of fuel use could be realized if the sugars from more recalcitrant cellulosic biomass could be converted to ethanol. Cellulosic biomass is the structural portion of plants and includes agricultural (e.g., corn stover, which is all of the above-ground portion of the corn plant, excluding the grain) and forestry (e.g., sawdust) residues, major fractions of municipal solid waste (e.g., waste paper and yard waste), and herbaceous (e.g., switchgrass) and woody (e.g., poplar) crops grown as energy resources. Although distinctive in outward appearance, these materials all comprise about 40–50% cellulose and 20–30% hemicellulose, with lesser amounts of lignin and other compounds such as sugars, oils, and minerals. Cellulose is a polymer of glucose sugar molecules that are physically linked together in a crystalline structure to provide structural support for plants. Hemicellulose is also made up of sugars covalently joined together in long chains, but it generally includes fve different sugars: arabinose, galactose, glucose, mannose, and xylose. In addition, hemicellulose is an amorphous, branched material. Lignin is a phenylpropene compound that can be viewed as a low-sulfur, immature coal.
Charles E. Wyman can be reached at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology, Bourns College of Engineering, University of California at Riverside, 1084 Columbia Ave., Riverside, CA 92507, USA; tel. 951–781–5703, fax 951–781–5790, and e-mail email@example.com.
Wyman is currently the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering and Professor in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California at Riverside. He also is co-founder, chief development offcer, and chair of the Scientifc Advisory Board for Mascoma Corporation, a startup cellulosic ethanol company. Wyman holds a BS degree from the University of Massachusetts and MA and PhD degrees from Princeton University, all in chemical engineering plus an MBA from the University of Denver. He has devoted most of his career to leading advancement of biological conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol in academia, a government laboratory, and industry. In addition, Wyman has contributed numerous papers and book chapters, many presentations, and several patents.