Ethanol is a fuel which may be used as an alternative to petrol, or in a blend with petrol to reduce the amount of petroleum consumed. Bioethanol is ethanol produced through processing biological matter, either waste products or crops grown specifically for the purpose of creating ethanol. An important consideration for bioethanol production is the energy ratio of production. That is, the ratio of energy consumed in producing the fuel by growing, harvesting, and processing the raw materials to the energy obtained in the form of bioethanol. These ratios are difficult to calculate, as it is not clear what values to attribute to the various elements comprising the energy flows, and how to value the co-products of bioethanol generation. The figures presented in this summary are the best available estimates. Three major regions are considered – Brazil, the US, and the EU. Drawbacks to bioethanol production, its future potential and suitability as fuel are also considered.
This resource was produced by TI-UP – a DFID-funded resource centre for technology, infrastructure and urban planning, managed by IMC Worldwide Ltd.
Brightman, T.; Sivell, P. TI-UP: bioethanol - a brief review. TI-UP Resource Centre, London, UK (2007) 5 pp.