AbstractCellulosic ethanol production has drawn much attention in recent years. However, there remain significant technical challenges before such production can be considered as economically feasible at an industrial scale. Among them, the efficient conversion of carbohydrates in lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars is one of the most challenging technical difficulties in cellulosic ethanol production. Use of ionic liquids has opened new avenues to solve this problem by two different pathways. One is pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass using ionic liquids to increase its enzymatic hydrolysis efficiency. The other is to transform the hydrolysis process of lignocellulosic biomass from a heterogeneous reaction system to a homogeneous one by dissolving it into ionic liquids, thus improving its hydrolysis efficiency.