Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms: an integrated phytoremediation and bioenergy system
Introduction: Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms is an aquatic plant that reproduces rapidly in polluted water. Due to the high adsorption capacity of heavy metals, the plant is used as a phytoremediation agent; its biomass can also be used biofuel production. Objective: To compile information on state-of-the-art water treatment processes and biofuel production with E. crassipes to design an integrated biohydrogen and bioethanol production process with the plant's biomass. Materials and methods: The available literature on E. crassipes was reviewed to analyze the designs and propose an integrated phytoremediation and bioenergy system. Results and discussion: The proposed design can be adjusted to industrial scale conditions. This design includes a phytoremediation system, a bioreactor to generate hydrolysis, a bioreactor to generate bioethanol and, finally, a bioreactor to generate hydrogen. Conclusions: By consulting the state of the art of the proposed designs, it is possible to create and construct, on a large scale, a system for producing bioethanol and biohydrogen from E. crassipes biomass (loaded or not with heavy metals). In this way, the plant biomass is not wasted as it is today.