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.>>

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There are many types of fermentation that are distinguished by the end products formed from pyruvate or its derivatives. The two fermentations most commonly used by humans to produce commercial foods are ethanol fermentation (used in beer and bread) and lactic acid fermentation (used to flavor and preserve dairy and vegetables)…>>

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>>


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Cellulosic ethanol is fuel ethanol made from glucose, a 6-carbon sugar derived from the cellulose in biomass. Cellulosic ethanol is a substitute for gasoline. It is chemically identical to ethanol made from food crops like corn and sugar, but comes from wood, waste paper, and energy crops like poplar and switchgrass. Cellulosic ethanol is more difficult to make, because cellulose is a tough structural material, unlike starch from grains which is easily broken down to glucose sugar. >>

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>>




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… Learn more>>     


 <<go to interactive map   




Corn Industry Battered By Shocking Ethanol Decision


Biofuels, explained


Feedstock Flexibility
by Matt Thompson | May 13, 2019


Current Methodologies and Advances inBio-ethanol Production
by Rastogi M and Shrivastava S | August 21, 2018


Corn’s Contenders: Three Promising Feedstock Alternatives for the US Ethanol Industry
by Jacques Moss | Mar 19, 2018


“1.5 Gen” Technologies Could Boost Cellulosic Ethanol Production by Nearly 2 Billion Gallons
by Jessie Stolark | September 1, 2017


Well-to-wake analysis of ethanol-to-jet and sugar-to-jet pathways
by Jeongwoo Han, Ling Tao & Michael Wang |  January 24, 2017


Lux: Cellulosic Ethanol Price Hinges On Feedstock Cost
By Lux Research | February 25, 2016