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A cellulosic ethanol – part 3 of essay

This is the final essay of my project. And I very much hope, my work brought a lot of benefits to you. What do you think about what was said and done? My new goal is to make my blog popular, show my photos to millions of people. I plan for each of them to present the story in writing. Can someone write my essay for me? I will necessarily indicate co-authors.

No crop displacement

Production of cellulosic ethanol is based on the lignocelluloses. These plants components are readily available in most places. As usual, there is no major displacement of other crops to create space for planting new crops for the supply of raw materials. Interestingly, the waste materials that are considered for disposal are reused for production of fuel. Compared to the production of corn starch biofuel, it is amazingly cheap to harness energy from cellulosic ethanol. Corn’s growth demands various agricultural inputs. It is very susceptible to pest as well as weeds. Corn’s plantation requires adequate preparation like weeding and pest control intervention. Sometimes cornstarch is imported from other countries making the price of fuel go up further due to the additional cost of importing the raw materials.

Most the infrastructure in place

Adoption of cellulosic ethanol as a primary source of fuel does not need much improvement in the existing infrastructure. More interesting to note is that most of the available automobiles are designed to accommodate cellulosic ethanol. The current statistic shows that almost 2,000 stations are serving E85. Surprisingly, these stations are located in Midwest, which are the major distributors of oil in the world. There is high optimism that these stations are increasing in number in the whole world.

The above statistics show that, the world is more ready to adopt the use of cellulosic ethanol both at domestic levels and national levels. There is minimal loss associated with phasing out old infrastructure to build new amenities that can accommodate the new innovation.  This can improve the adoption of cellulosic ethanol. Little resistance is therefore expected since there are infrastructures required to promote the use.

Net energy balance

Cellulosic ethanol has a good net energy balance compared to other source of energy. Statistics indicates that cellulosic ethanol has a net positive energy balance compared to gasoline which often show negative energy balance.  Energy balance refers to the ratios of energy released by burning the fuel to that used in production process (Gürbüz). However, the production process of cellulosic ethanol is very cheap as it does not require formal growing of plants. It is very important to note that, the production process of cellulosic ethanol just entails collection of waste organic matter from various dumping sites. Minimal amount of energy is utilized in the production process making it to have relatively higher positive energy balance compared to gasoline or petroleum.

Cheap, non-food feedstock

Production of cellulosic ethanol is based on biomass feedstocks which are not suitable for human consumptions. Amongst them include Switchgrass, sawdust, municipal solid waste and non-edible plants part. These raw materials for cellulosic ethanol production are considered waste material and there is no charges levied on them. In some cases, collecting of these materials like the Municipal Solid waste may make them earn income since the Municipal consider the action as a relief on their parts (Alonso). They will no longer hire for the dumping sites but instead reward those that collect the wastes on their behalf.  The facts that all the raw material are freely obtained makes the finally price of cellulosic ethanol affordable and effective for economic improvement.

In conclusion, the use of cellulosic ethanol is considered affordable and highly recommended for use. Individual are encouraged are adopt the new invention as it helps to promote healthy and sustainable environment.  However, there are some few cons that has to be reviewed for successful use of cellulosic ethanol

Cons

Fueling locations

It is one of the major challenges in adopting the use of cellulosic ethanol in the modern automobile cars. For instance, the number of E85 fueling station is roughly 2000 with majority of them in Illinois and Indiana. This poses great challenge to the consumers in accessing the points.  The consumers are therefore forced to cover fairly longer distances to get to the station. The general cost moving this distance is high up the amount of the other alternative source of fuel. Some states for instances, have no single E85 fueling station (Lau & Dale).

It is therefore a bigger challenge to own cars and other automobiles in such countries with limited accessibility to E85 fueling stations. Poor accessibility to station has thwarted attitudes and the expansion of the use of cellulosic ethanol. More stations are required be devolved in other locations to ensure that customers are not restrained in getting access to stations.

Fuel transportation

Chemical structure of ethanol makes it very difficult to be transported through existing pipelines. It has the potential to absorb water making it difficult to be shipped through existing pipelines. Most of the production process occurs in Midwest of U.S, where the there are already installed pipes. Unfortunately, the products cannot be transported in normal pipelines (Farrell et al.). The available remedies include building special ethanol pipelines, otherwise the use of railways or road transportation seem to be the only best option. Railways or road transportation is always hectic and unreliable as they prone to accidents among others. The policy enforcers should ensure that cellulose plants are established in every location so long as there adequate abundant of feedstocks.

Water absorption

Bonding components of ethanol makes it to readily absorb water while on transit.  Absorption of water molecules may contaminate it thus easily its ability to burn for fuel provision. Its absorption property reduces the chance of transporting the fuel using pipeline. The Ethanol is therefore considered to be having a very short shelf life as well as tank life as compared to other alternatives source of energy which is capable of lasting for couples of days (Zhu & Pan).

High Enzyme Price

The production process of cellulosic ethanol is very comprehensive and passes through many stages. For instance, there is hydrolysis of plants ‘leaves and other parts of smaller particles. This process was best achieved by using dilute sulfuric acid or even concentrated hydrochloric acid. The use of acid to aid in the hydrolysis of plants parts was further found to be unsuitable and it was later replaced by use of enzymes. Enzymes are biological component that speed up the rate of organic reactions. In the case of ethanol production, enzymes help in fermentation process which yields ethanol as byproducts.

Some of the enzymes may naturally exist in the process but most of them are commercially generated and introduced into the system (Zheng, Pan & Zhang). Purchasing of enzymes is increases the production cost of cellulosic ethanol. This pose great challenges when there is inadequate supply of enzymes this hindering with steady supply of energy

Government incentive driven

Concerns are raised especially for the government funded firms. Many Cellulosic Ethanol producing plants are government incentives driven and there are no private developers in the region. Such firms can easily collapse when the support from the government is withdrawn.

Failure of attracting more private developers to invest in the market is likely to slow the development of these plants.

Previous research on cellulosic ethanol

This field has attracted many research works to explore much about the cellulosic ethanol production. In this discussion, we are going to review a recent research on the Potential of Cellulose Ethanol Production from grasses in Thailand

Introduction

The research analyzed the grasses in Thailand for the potentiality as one of the alternative energy crops for cellulosic ethanol production through hydrolysis process (Sticklen). The research sampled various species of grasses and analyzed the percentage of various components in them. For instance, percentage composition of lignin, hemicelluloses and cellulose itself were found in varying proportion. The selection of grass sample were based on the picking them from various provinces in Thailand. The selected samples were carefully pretreated with alkaline peroxide before enzymatic hydrolysis was conducted to determine enzymatic saccharification.  It was observed that the total reducing sugars for most grasses were established to be around 500-600mg/g grass. Commonly used enzymes for hydrolysis were cellulose and xylanase.

The research selected around 18 samples of grasses from different part of the provinces. The study only focused on the glucose and xylose that were produced from cellulose and xylan hydrolysis by cellulase and xylanase. It is because xylan is the core composition of hemicelluloses. The percentages of conversion of total reducing sugars were used to compare the efficiency of the hydrolysis of each grass species (Wyman). The measure was realistic since each grass contained different quantities of cellulose and hemicelluloses. It is necessary to conduct pretreatment of raw material so as to disaggregate lignocelluloses into smaller components that include lignin, cellulose as well as hemicelluloses.  The main goal of this  pretreatment is to remove lignin and diminish cellulose crystallinity and make raw material more porous exposing more surface of cellulose to enzymes activity that leads to formation of fuel. Hydrogen peroxide pretreatment was preferred since it has low environmental impacts. It is very important to note that necessity of pretreatment was just imperative since the result could indicate that no reducing sugars could be obtained without this pretreatment.

The research concluded by proposing that lignocellulosic biomass, like grass is potentially preferable in cellulosic ethanol production by the enzyme-initiated process. It further ascertained that Pongola grass more is potential for saccharification prior to fermentation process unlike dwarf Napier grass with equal potential for fermentation by SSCF process (Solomon, Barnes & Halvorsen). The research reaffirmed that potential alternative energy crops to serve as feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol generation in the future for Thailand is two grass species .i.e. dwarf Napier grass and Pongola grass.

Future exploration in the field

The field is still green, and more research needs to be done so as to make the cheap production of ethanol fuel. Exploring the field further will help to generate a cheaper source of fuel into the society. More interesting field to be explored is the efficient means of transporting ethanol other than the existing methods (Yang & Wyman). This has remained a challenge in the production industry since it cannot be transported through pipeline due to its high affinity for water.

Another field that requires exploration is how to manufacture cost effective enzymes that are critical to hydrolysis process. Purchase of enzymes for the process has increased the cost of production to a level that is almost equivalent to that of gasoline.

In conclusion, to improve efforts of mitigating the impacts of global warming which has become a great global challenge in the 21st century, the use of cellulosic ethanol as a source of fuel should be adopted globally both in the developed nations and the developing countries as well (Schmer et al.).