Chemical Kinetics of Alkaline Pretreatment of Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) Prior Enzymatic Hydrolysis

Samuel Eshorame Sanni*, Olasubomi Akinrinola, Esther Ojima Yusuf, Omololu Oluwatobi Fagbiele, Oluranti Agboola
Department of Chemical Engineering, Covenant University, P.M.B. 1023, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria

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© 2018 Samuel et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Covenant University, P.M.B. 1023, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria, Tel: +234 8034332497; E-mail:



Napier grass is a naturally abundant waste material that can be cultivated over a vast area of land which makes it a viable source for sugar and bioethanol production.


The presence of lignin in the biomass makes cellulose inaccessible for conversion to useful products, however, in order to provide for efficient utilization of the waste material, reagent and energy, a study on the kinetics of lignin removal from Napier grass was carried out in this work using 1 and 3 w/w % NaOH at temperatures between 80 and 120°C.

Materials & Methods:

Based on the investigation, there was increased lignin removal for increased NaOH concentration. Kinetic parameters were also determined and it was observed that, the reaction of lignin in Napier grass with NaOH obeys a pseudo-zero or pseudo-fractional order kinetics. Furthermore, the orders of the reaction for the pretreatment conditions of 3 w/w% NaOH at 100°C and those of 3 and 1 w/w NaOH at 120°C gave close reaction orders of 0.2, 0.22 and 0.24 respectively after 110 minutes, which implies that, for the three cases, the residual lignin in the extract was almost the same at the pretreatment conditions while slight differences are evident in their pseudo rate constants. Also, it was observed that, the activation energy of the reaction reduced significantly as the concentration of NaOH increased from 1w/w - 3 w/w%.


Based on the AIL and the total lignin (i.e. AIL + ASL) in the Napier grass, the recorded delignification efficiencies at the optimum pretreatment time of 17.5 h are 90 and 76% respectively. In addition, the adopted Differential Technique (DT) combined with the Ostwald Method of Isolation (OMI) can be accurately used to study the kinetics of lignin removal from Napier grass.

Keywords: Alkaline Pretreatment, Chemical Kinetics, Delignification, Napier Grass, Pseudo-fractional Order, Ostwald Method of Isolation.