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The Changing Energy MixA Systematic Comparison of Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy$
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Paul F. Meier

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190098391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190098391.001.0001

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A Renewable Energy Type

(p.274) 8 Ethanol
The Changing Energy Mix

Paul F. Meier

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the use of biomass to make ethanol, or bioethanol, as a transportation fuel. Biomass is defined as any organic material that can be used as a fuel. However, in the United States and Brazil, the two countries that dominate the bioethanol market, most ethanol is produced from corn grain (United States) or sugarcane (Brazil). There has also been research and some commercial trials using cellulosic material, such as corn stover, switchgrass, and sugarcane bagasse, to produce ethanol, but the approach is hindered by high capital and operating costs. In the United States, more than 35% of the total corn production goes towards ethanol production and ethanol makes up about 10% of the gasoline market. Since 2007, the gallons of ethanol produced has more than doubled, and much of this growth has been driven by federal subsidies and mandates.

Keywords:   corn grain, sugarcane, corn stover, sugarcane bagasse, cellulosic ethanol, fermentation, distillation, flexible-fuel vehicle, renewable fuel standard

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