First Generation: Ethanol

Bioethanol is the most common biofuel, accounting for more than 90% of total biofuel usage. Conventional production is a well known process based on enzymatic conversion of starchy biomass into sugars, and/or fermentation of 6-carbon sugars with final distillation of ethanol to fuel grade.

Ethanol can be produced from many feedstocks, including cereal crops, corn (maize), sugar cane, sugar beets, potatoes, sorghum, cassava. Co- products (e.g animal feed) help reduce production cost. If sugar cane is used, conversion into sugar is easier. Crushed stalk (bagasse) can be used to provide heat and power for the process and for other energy applications. The world’s largest producers of bio-ethanol are Brazil (sugar-cane ethanol) and the United States (corn ethanol). Ethanol is used in low 5%-10% blends with gasoline (E5, E10) but also as E-85 in flex-fuel vehicles. In Brazil, gasoline must contain a minimum of 22% bioethanol.


Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report. Jan 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from US Department of Energy.

Composed by Tien, Edited by Matt

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By Eli Karp, Robert King, Tien Tran, and Matthew Schmitt