Biofuel- Ethanol Feedstocks and Process


Ethanol Is Made From Biomass
Ethanol is a renewable biofuel because it is made from biomass. Ethanol is a clear, colorless alcohol made from a variety of biomass materials called feedstocks (the raw materials used to make a product). Fuel ethanol feedstocks include grains and crops with high starch and sugar content such as corn, sorghum, barley, sugar cane, and sugar beets. Ethanol can also be made from grasses, trees, and agricultural and forestry residues such as corn cobs and stocks, rice straw, sawdust, and wood chips. Ethanol is made from these feedstocks in several ways.>>

Ethanol Production Process 
               The process: fermentation and cellulosic

Fermentation- the definition:   An anaerobic (without oxygen) cellular process in which an organic food is converted into simpler compounds, and chemical energy(ATP) is produced.

Cellulosic-  the definition:  Cellulose is the main substance that makes up the cell walls and fibers of plants. An example of cellulose is the 30% of a tree that can be made into paper.  Source:

Ethanol can also be produced by breaking down cellulose in plant fibers. This cellulosic ethanol is considered an advanced biofuel and involves a more complicated production process than fermentation. While large potential sources of cellulosic feedstocks exist, commercial production of cellulosic fuel ethanol is relatively small.>>


Almost any plant-based material can be an ethanol feedstock. All plants contain sugars, and these sugars can be fermented to make ethanol in a process called “biochemical conversion.” Plant material also can be converted to ethanol using heat and chemicals in a process called “thermochemical conversion” (see Ethanol Production to learn more about these processes).

Selecting a feedstock depends on many factors, such as how difficult it is to grow a specific crop for ethanol, where crops can be cultivated (geographically), and whether the crops are being set aside for other uses, such as livestock feed or human nutrition. Crop residues and wood wastes can also be used as feedstock…>>     

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