Utilization of solar energy for continuous bioethanol production for energy applications

Betina Tabah, Indra Neel Pulidindi, Venkateswara Rao Chitturi, Leela Mohana Reddy Arava, Aharon Gedanken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The focus of the present research is to develop energy-efficient, sustainable, and continuous-flow bioethanol production based on solar energy. Solid-state fermentation of glucose was performed in a specially designed solar-energy-driven continuous flow reactor. Aqueous glucose solutions of 10 and 20 wt% were fed into the reactor bed containing baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), resulting in 4.7 and 8.7 wt% ethanol yields, respectively. The bioethanol produced was separated from the yeast bed soon after its formation by an evaporation-condensation process. High ethanol yields (91.2 and 85.5% of the theoretical yield, respectively) indicate the atom-efficiency of the process. No loss in the activity of yeast was observed even after two months of continuous operation of the reactor. The current study demonstrates an energy-efficient methodology for bioethanol production utilizing solar energy. The bioethanol obtained (8.7 wt%, ca. 2 M) was further tested in alkaline-acid direct ethanol fuel cells operated at 303 K, resulting in a power density value of 330 mW cm-2 at a modest open circuit voltage value of 1.65 V (65.5% voltage efficiency).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24203-24209
Number of pages7
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number29
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2016.


The authors acknowledge the ?nancial support from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF, Grant No. 598/12) and the Israel Ministry of Science, Technology and Space (Grant No. 3-9802 and 3-99763). The authors thank Mr Menachem Schneeberg, Head of Mechanical Workshop, Bar-Ilan University, for fabricating the solar reactor.

FundersFunder number
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space3-9802, 3-99763
Bar-Ilan University
Israel Science Foundation598/12


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