Second-generation ethanol processing cost prohibitive: study

Nov 21, 2011

Costs for second-generation ethanol processing, which will ease the stress on corn and sugarcane, are unlikely to be competitive until 2020, according to a unique Queen's University study.

"This study really lays out in black and white where we are and where we are going," says Warren Mabee, an assistant professor in the School of Policy Studies and Department of Geography. "It should prompt companies to reassess (their processes going forward)."

The researchers found that building large scale facilities for second-generation will be more costly than building plants for first-generation production. One reason is the extra infrastructure necessary for significant and costly pre-treatment of items like wood residue and waste paper. These replacements for corn and sugar cane contain multiple kinds of sugar while consists of pure glucose.

One solution to the high processing costs is companies responsible for just one part of the process, not building huge plants responsible for the entire process, Dr. Mabee said. This will reduce costs by spreading out the costs between more companies.

"This is a real opportunity to reduce the cost of production," says Jamie Stephen, a Fellow at Queen's University Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.

Blended with gasoline, ethanol has the potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, but utilizing corn and to create ethanol is putting stress on these commodities.

The study was recently published in the journal Biofuels, and Biorefining.

Explore further: Booming electric car sales under fire in Norway

Related Stories

Fuel ethanol cannot alleviate US dependence on petroleum

Jul 01, 2005

A new study of the carbon dioxide emissions, cropland area requirements, and other environmental consequences of growing corn and sugarcane to produce fuel ethanol indicates that the "direct and indirect environmental impacts ...

Ethanol production said increasing erosion

Jul 06, 2005

Large-scale farming of sugar cane and corn for ethanol fuel is increasing erosion and reducing biodiversity, Washington State University researchers say.

Recommended for you

Seoul to provide smartphone-charging down by the stream

Aug 29, 2014

Seoul's mobile users will be able to make use of outdoor charging stations at a popular downtown stream, powered by mini-hydroelectric turbines that use the stream's current. The city is building the recharging ...

Tesla, Chinese firm plan 400 charging stations

Aug 29, 2014

Tesla Motors Co. and a state-owned Chinese phone carrier announced plans Friday to build 400 charging stations for electric cars in a new bid to promote popular adoption of the technology in China.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (1) Nov 22, 2011
So has all the cellulosic ethanol news been hype?