AbstractA previous study demonstrated that paper sludges with high ash contents can be converted to ethanol by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) or simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation (SSCF). High ash content in the sludge, however, limited solid loading in the bioreactor, causing low product concentration. To overcome this problem, sludges were de-ashed before SSF and SSCF. Low ash content in sludges also increased the ethanol yield to the extent that the enzyme dosage required to achieve 70% yield in the fermentation process was reduced by 30%. High solid loading in SSF and SSCF decreased the ethanol yield. High agitation and de-ashing of the sludges were able to restore part of the yield loss caused by high solid loading. Substitution of the laboratory fermentation medium (peptone and yeast extract) with corn steep liquor did not bring about any adverse effects in the fermentation. Fed-batch operation of the SSCF and SSF using low-ash content sludges was effective in raising the ethanol concentration, achieving 47.8 g/L and 60.0 g/L, respectively.