Biofuel- Ethanol Basics

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 Fuel Basics
Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials collectively known as “biomass.” Nearly 97% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol, typically E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline), to oxygenate the fuel and reduce air pollution…Read more>>

Fuel Properties   >>
Ethanol (CH3CH2OH) is a clear, colorless liquid. It is also known as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, and EtOH (see Fuel Properties search.) Ethanol has the same chemical formula regardless of whether it is produced from…Learn more>>

Energy Density
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EROEI= energy returned on energy invested
1.3 Ethanol corn, 1.3 Biodiesel, 5.0 Ethanol sugarcane




Ethanol Feedstocks

Fermentation Feedstocks(most commonly used)
* kernel composition & processing
*field vs. food            about corn>>

–  Sugar Beets
* what is it
* how is it processedabout beets>>

–  Sugar Cane
* what is it
* how is it processed  about cane>>


Cellulose Feedstocks(most commonly used)
– Crop residues
* what is it                             about crop residue>>

– Wood residues
* what is it                            about wood residue>>


  – Dedicated energy crops
  …Dedicated energy crops are defined as nonfood energy crops…
* what are those       about dedicated energy crops>>


  – Industrial and other wastes
 …Ethanol from Waste…
* what are those about industrial and other wastes>>



Ethanol as a Transportation Fuel

Ethanol Is Once Again Used To Fuel Automobiles
Ethanol use increased temporarily during World War II when oil and other resources were scarce. In the 1970s, interest in ethanol as a transportation fuel was revived as oil embargoes, rising oil prices, and growing dependence on imported oil increased interest in alternative fuels. Since that time, ethanol use and production has been encouraged by tax benefits and by environmental regulations that require cleaner-burning fuels.

In 2005, Congress enacted a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that set minimum requirements for the use of renewable fuels, including ethanol. In 2007, the RFS renewable fuel use targets were set to rise steadily to a level of 36 billion gallons by 2022. In 2018, about 14.4 billion gallons of fuel ethanol were consumed in the United States.

Most of the gasoline now sold in the United States contains some ethanol. The exact amount varies by region. In general, the ethanol content of motor gasoline does not exceed 10% by volume. Gasoline with 10% ethanol content is referred to as…




Flexible-fuel (flex-fuel) vehicles can run on any mixture of ethanol and gasoline up to E85. Flex-fuel vehicles may have a badge or plaque on the body of the vehicle with terms such as E85, Flex Fuel, or



Ethanol can reduce pollution, is nontoxic and Biodegrdable
Unlike gasoline, pure ethanol is nontoxic and biodegradable, and it quickly breaks down into harmless substances if spilled. Chemical denaturants…