Bio-fuels

ALCOHOL FUELS

ETHANOL FROM RENEWABLE CARBON SOURCES

Ethanol production from lignocellulosic feedstocks requires the development of methods (environmental controls, or feeding strategies) to optimize product formation from multiple substrates (mixed sugar streams).

Researcher: Jim Kastner
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FERMENTATION OF BAKERY WASTE FOR FUEL ETHANOL PRODUCTION

Fuel ethanol is produced in large quantities in the US from corn grown in the Midwest. Georgia food processors produce over 300,000 tons of carbohydrate rich food waste each year with the potential to generate millions of gallons of ethanol.

Researchers: Thomas Adams, Joy Peterson
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Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that is produced from renewable sources. At its most basic, ethanol is grain alcohol, produced from crops such as corn. Because it is domestically produced, ethanol helps reduce America's dependence upon foreign sources of energy.

Pure, 100% ethanol is not generally used as a motor fuel; instead, a percentage of ethanol is combined with unleaded gasoline. This is beneficial because the ethanol:

  • increases the fuel's octane rating
  • decreases gasoline's air emissions

Ethanol is an excellent fuel and fuel additive but may have some negative effects as well; in particular, decreasing vehicle fuel efficiency.

BLENDING

Any amount of ethanol can be combined with gasoline, but the most common blends are:

E10—10% Ethanol and 90% Gasoline
E10 is approved for use in any make or model of vehicle sold in the U.S. Many automakers recommend its use because of its high performance, clean-burning characteristics. In 2004, about one-third of America's gasoline was blended with ethanol, most in this 10% variety.

E85—85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline
E85 is an alternative fuel for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). There are currently more than 4 million FFVs on America's roads today, and automakers are rolling out more each year. In conjunction with more flexible fuel vehicles, more E85 pumps are being installed across the country. When E85 is not available, these FFVs can operate on straight gasoline or any ethanol blend up to 85%.

It is important to note that it does not take a special vehicle to run on "ethanol." All vehicles can use E10 with no modifications to the engine. E85 may also be run in any vehicle; however, there are modifications needed in the fuel's delivery system. There are conversion kits for most makes and models available.