Banana-based Biofuels for Combating Climate Change: How the Composition of Enzyme Catalyzed Solutions Affects Biofuel Yield
(1) United World College South East Asia, Dover Campus, Singapore
This investigation was inspired by the ever so precarious nature of climate change and its detrimental implications on our planet and society. One alternative form of energy that shows promise amongst others in alleviating the climate crisis, is biofuel. An extensive experiment was conducted to investigate whether amylase or yeast had a more prominent role in determining the bioethanol concentration and bioethanol yield of banana samples. Given that amylase facilitates the breakdown of complex polysaccharides into simple sugars, we hypothesized that amylase would have the most significant impact on the bioethanol yield and concentration of the samples. This was determined to be the case when the fermentation batch samples received enzyme compositions of yeast and amylase independently. However, when added concurrently, the optimal enzyme composition for maximizing the bioethanol concentration and yield was the addition of amylase and yeast in a 3:2 ratio. Thus, while yeast is an essential component for producing bioethanol, the proportion of amylase supplied through a joint amylase-yeast mixture has a more significant impact on the bioethanol yield. This provides some insight into what industrial engineers would need to take into consideration when mass-producing bioethanol on the industrial scale, namely that of the optimal enzyme composition with respect to cost and the bioethanol yield. Moreover, this study provides a greater understanding of the mechanisms and implications involved in enzyme-based biofuel production, specifically of those pertaining to amylase and yeast.