Palm biomass wastes are currently considered as promising solid biofuels. However, their high potassium content leads to formation of slag in combustion chambers and causes frequent power-plant shutdowns for maintenance. Therefore, this study aimed to develop a low-cost practical biological pretreatment for these wastes. Oleaginous fungi Aspergillus tubingensis TSIP9, which originates from palm wastes, was used to pretreat biomass wastes and simultaneously produce oils through non-sterile solid state fermentation (SoSF). The operating conditions were optimized through response surface methodology. The fungi could grow and produce oils with good biodiesel fuel properties. After SoSF, potassium content in biomass wastes was reduced by 90% and cellulose content increased to >57%, making it suitable as clean solid biofuel. Repeated-SoSF with 90% substrate replacement was highly effective in continuously pretreating biomass wastes and producing fungal oils. This study demonstrates the cost-effective and environmentally friendly process for production of clean renewable energy through zero-waste strategy.
Keywords: Biodiesel; Oleaginous fungi; Palm biomass wastes; Solid biofuel; Solid state fermentation.
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