Biofuel- Ethanol Feedstocks


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).

Some plants are easier to process into ethanol than others. Some don’t require many resources to grow, while others need many resources, as well as intensive care. Some plants are used… Learn more>>     


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Starch- and Sugar-Based Ethanol Feedstocks-    Nearly all ethanol is derived from starch- and sugar-based feedstocks. The sugars in these feedstocks are easy to extract and ferment, making large-scale ethanol production affordable. Corn is the leading U.S. crop and serves as the feedstock for most domestic ethanol production. Small amounts of wheat, milo and sugarcane are used, although the economics of these are not as favorable as corn. The Renewable Fuel Standard limits production of ethanol from starch-based feedstocks to 15 billion gallons to ensure there are enough feedstocks to meet demand in livestock feed, human food, and export markets…. Learn more>> 

Cellulosic Ethanol Feedstocks-   Cellulosic feedstocks offer many advantages over starch- and sugar-based feedstocks. They are more abundant and can be used to produce..Learn more>> 

To determine the potential gallons of ethanol produced (via biochemical conversion) per ton of various feedstocks, use the Theoretical Ethanol Yield Calculator and the Biomass Feedstock Composition and Property Database. The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands’ Phyllis database also contains information on the composition of biomass and waste. The table below shows the potential of some commonly considered feedstocks.


Feedstocks And Where They Are Harvested     BIOFUEL- ETHANOL PROD WHERE IT'S MADE                    <<





A feedstock is defined as any renewable, biological material that can be used directly as a fuel, or converted to another form of fuel or energy product. Biomass feedstocks are…Learn more>>


Algal Biofuels
The Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO’s) Algae Program is carrying out a long-term applied research and development (R&D) strategy to increase the yields and lower the costs of algal biofuels by working with partners to develop new technologies, to integrate technologies at commercially-relevant scales, and conduct….Learn more>>


Why Algar?
– National Energy Security
– Economic Security
– Climate Change

Algae Basics:
– What are algae
– How algae grow
– Algae cultivation
– 10 Benefits
– Production systems
– History as fuel


What Type Of Fuels Are Made From Algae?
– Biodiesel
– Renewable Aviation Fuel
– Green Gasoline
– Alcohol Fuels
– Other Biofuels


Better Than Corn? Algae Set to Beat Out Other Biofuel Feedstocks-   The inputs for algae are simple: the single-celled organisms only need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to grow. They can quadruple in biomass in just one day, and they help remove carbon from the air and nitrogen from wastewater, another environmental benefit. Some types of algae comprise more than 50 percent oil, and an average acre of algae grown today for pharmaceutical industries can produce 5,000 gallons (19,000 liters) of biodiesel each year. By comparison, an average acre of corn produces…Learn more>>



Cellulosic Ethanol And It’s Future

BIOFUEL- CELL ETHANOL    Cellulosic ethanol is ethanol made from cellulose, a non-grain material/feedstock that provides the cellular structure for all plants. The end product – a clean-burning, high-octane fuel – is the same as ethanol made from corn.   Cellulose, which provides…Learn more>>



Turning Corn Cobs Into Car Fuel
Rights information: By: Laurel Hamers, Inside Science   BIOFUEL- ETHANOL FEEDSTOCK CORN TO FUEL SCIENCE 2.0

Today, ethanol is routinely made from the kernels of corn. Eventually, though, it may be made from the husks.   Starches like corn provide quick energy because they readily break down into simple sugars such as glucose. This structure also makes them easy to convert into bioethanol, an alternative to fossil fuels.   But there are problems with relying on the same plants to fuel both our bodies and our cars: we only have so much…Learn more>>


How Cellulosic Ethanol Works

BIOFUEL- ETHANOL FEEDSTOCK CELLULOSE PROCESS    You can make ethanol from many plant sugars. Cellulose and starch are just two examples. No matter what you start with, the ethanol production process takes polysaccharides, or complex sugars, from the plant, breaks them into single sugars and converts them into ethanol.

The differences between starch and cellulosic ethanol start with the plants. In the United States, starch ethanol is made from…Learn more>>


“Fantasy” of Fuel From Corn Waste Gets Big U.S. Test
By Christina Nunez, National Geographic   published Fri Sep 12, 2014

BIOFUEL- ETHANOL FEEDSTOCK CELL POET NATGEOGRAPH       …Despite the hurdles, three major cellulosic ethanol projects are moving ahead this year in the United States. Aside from Project Liberty, which received both federal and state funding and is set to produce 25 million gallons a year at full capacity, the Spanish renewable energy company Abengoa plans to produce the same volume from its facility in southwestern Kansas, opening in October. And the chemical giant Dupont is opening a plant this year in Nevada, Iowa, with a target of 30 million gallons per year. (To put those amounts in perspective, the U.S. consumed nearly 135 billion gallons of gasoline in 2018.)…Learn more>> 



US Opens First Commercial Plant That Converts Corn Waste To Fuel-
by John Timmer | Sept 6 2014

So far, the largest biofuels efforts have involved the age-old process of converting sugars in plants into ethanol. If biofuels are ever to make a significant dent in fossil fuel use, however, they’re probably going to have to be made from something that can’t also be used as food (either by us or our farm animals.) That means working with something other than sugar.

The leading candidate is cellulose, a robust polymer of sugars that give plants the strength to grow several hundred feet tall. Breaking down cellulose into sugars…Learn more>>



Corn Grain As An Ethanol Feedstock

BIOFUEL- ETHANOL FEEDSTOCK NEBRASKA CORN     Nebraska produced 1.52 billion bushels of corn in 2011. Approximately 600 million bushels goes to ethanol production. Photo courtesy of F. John Hay

-Current Potential for Use as a Biofuel
-Biology and Adaptation
-Production and Agronomic Information
-Potential Yields
-Production Challenges
-Estimated Production Costs
-Environmental and Sustainability Issues


The major feed grains are corn, sorghum, barley, and oats. Corn is the primary U.S. feed grain, accounting for more than 95 percent of total feed grain production and use.    ERS offers analysis and data that include:

-More than 90 million acres of land are planted to corn, with the majority of the crop grown in the Heartland region.

-Animal unit calculations provide a indicator of corn and other feed use by livestock type.

-Food, seed, and industrial uses are projected for the current and upcoming marketing year.

-The United States is a major player in the world corn trade market, with between 10 and 20 percent of the corn crop exported to other countries. The United States accounts for about 40 percent of world exports.   see the data>>
ETHANOL- FEEDSTOCK US garin production  
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updated June 2018 graphic







Sugar Beets  
Ethanol From Energy Beets: A Viable Option?

Garden variety sugar beets have long been farmed in the upper Midwest, parts of the Intermountain West, and California for conversion into table-quality sweeteners. However, both entrepreneurs and farmers in California, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota and North Dakota are all warming to the idea of growing these venerable tubers solely for their bioenergy content.

BIOFUEL- ETHANOL FEEDSTOCK BEETS viaable ?    And unlike beets grown solely for food sugar; to date, industrial-quality “energy” beets have not been hamstrung by federally regulated acreage allotments. In other words,…Learn more>> 



Lowering Ethanol’s Carbon Footprint With Energy Beets
By Keith Loria | June 26, 2013
Mendota Bioenergy’s plan to turn energy beets to ethanol moves to demonstration scale in California’s San Joaquin Valley.   

The future of advanced biofuels is in beets. At least that’s the thinking of those behind Mendota Bioenergy LLC, a California energy beet-to-ethanol project that last year received an approximately $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build a demonstration plant in the Mendota area of Fresno County to test out its theory.
-New Uses
-Old Crop
-Next Steps


Sugar Cane
Ethanol-  Global leaders are searching for clean, renewable options to provide energy and reduce petroleum use. Sugarcane has emerged as an important alternative for meeting those needs. This powerful plant is grown in more than 100 countries and holds the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diversify energy supplies and create jobs.

Sugarcane ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel produced by the fermentation of sugarcane juice and molasses. Because it is a clean, affordable and low-carbon biofuel, sugarcane ethanol has emerged as a leading renewable fuel for the transportation sector. Ethanol can be used two ways:

-Blended with gasoline at levels ranging from 5 to 25 percent to reduce petroleum use, boost octane ratings and cut tailpipe emissions

-Pure ethanol – a fuel made up of 85 to 100 percent ethanol depending on country specifications – can be used in specially designed engines

Benefits of Ethanol
-Cleaner Air
-Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
-Better Performance
-Lower Petroleum Usage


Brazil: A Leader In Ethanol Production And Use
Brazil has achieved greater energy security thanks to its focused commitment to developing a competitive sugarcane industry and making ethanol a key part of its energy mix. In fact, Brazil has replaced…Learn more>>
-Sugarcane Ethanol
-Flex Fuel Vehicles.

What’s Next? Cellulosic Ethanol
Sugarcane ethanol today is made from the sucrose found in sugarcane juice and molasses. This current process taps only one-third of the energy sugarcane can offer. The other two-thirds remains locked in leftover cane fiber (called bagasse) and straw. While some of this energy is converted to…Learn more>>



Research Makes Switchgrass Ethanol Cheaper To Produce  

Researchers at the University of Georgia have made a leap ahead in the work to convert switchgrass to a biofuel, a discovery that might make the plants economical to make fuels. The scientists engineered a bacterium called Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, which can convert switchgrass to ethanol without the costly step of pretreatment. Traditionally, biofuel makers…Learn more>>  


Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) for Biofuel Production

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a native warm-season grass that is a leading biomass crop in the United States. More than 70 years of experience with switchgrass as a hay and forage crop suggest switchgrass will be productive and sustainable on rain-fed marginal land east of the 100th meridian. Long-term plot trials and farm-scale studies in the Great Plains and plot trials in the Great Plains, Midwest, South, and Southeast indicate switchgrass is productive, protective of the environment, and profitable for the farmer….Learn more>>

-Current Potential for Use as a Biofuel
-Biology and Adaptation
-Production and Agronomic Information
-Potential Yield
-Production Challenges
-Production Cost
-Environmental and Sustainability Issues