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


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


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.).


A cellulosic ethanol – part 2 of essay

Benefits of Cellulosic Ethanol

Comparison of this fuel to gasoline gives more credit to the use of Cellulosic Ethanol than gasoline. It is based on the environmentally friendly nature of the fuel compared to the gas. The fuel is considered to be having very minimal amount of carbon monoxide than petrol. Excessive emission of carbon monoxide is linked to high incidence of heart disease.  These diseases are severe and can often claim lives of many adults. Children born in such areas polluted with carbon monoxide can barely survive to old age. Emission of these toxic gasses can also interfere with the breathing system of an individual as well the blood circulation. Recent studies relate the mysterious death to excessive accumulation of carbon monoxide. The gas has the potential to bind with hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is structured to carry around oxygen to different body parts. Binding of carbon monoxide with the hemoglobin reduces the available site to carry oxygen. Since carbon monoxide has high affinity to hemoglobin than oxygen, hemoglobin readily picks up the gas at the expense of carrying oxygen. It makes the body cells and organs to be deprived of oxygen leading to suffocation ad finally death cases. The adoption of cellulosic ethanol as a fuel is proposed by the health professional to reduce the emission of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. This is the key benefits of using biofuel to supply energy. It is viewed as an essential intervention to control environmental pollution.

The use of cellulosic ethanol to provide energy has come at the right time when the menace of acid rain has gone very high. The significant perpetrators of acidic precipitation include nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. It is important to note that the use of cellulosic ethanol has significantly minimized emission of nitrogen oxide. Accumulated level of nitrogen oxide is essential fundamental to the formation of acidic rain. The effects of acidic rain are much more beyond intervention as it destroys structures and can also hamper with crop production. In some parts of the country, the existence of acidic has also interfered with the natural habitation of wild animals and microorganism. Plants have withered, and wild animals have migrated to other regions.

It is inevitable to note the impacts of acidic rain to general soil topography. Soil topography is referred to the different components of soil structures. It is improved by the presence of a living microorganism in the ground. They help to aerate the ground and make improve the ground fertility. Microorganisms are very significant in breaking down the soil organic matter and incorporate them into soil layers. The increase in the ground PH by increased acidic rain interferes and probably destroys some beneficial soil microorganism thus leading to undistributed soil fertility. This may necessitate the use of inorganic fertilizer to boost soil fertility for better crop production.  It is, therefore, important to reduce the emission of gasses that lead to the formation of acid rain. Environmental designers and conservatives should promote the use of cellulosic ethanol which has minimal content of nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. The two gasses are very notorious in contributing to acid rain (Gürbüz, Wettstein  & Dumesic). Therefore, the key benefit of using cellulosic ethanol to provide fuel is the ability to cut off the emission of nitrogen oxide gasses.

Another fundamental benefit of making ethanol from cellulose is the inexhaustibility and the good nature of the raw material. The raw material is readily abundant in adequate quantity to support the production of ethanol. Unlike cornstarch which demands agricultural inputs and other services, retrieving of cellulose is easy and cheap as it can obtain from leaves, flowers and even the stem of the plant. The final production cost of ethanol from cellulose is effective and does not require additional expenses of importing raw material from other countries. Switchgrass is one the most suitable crop for the production of ethanol. It has been established that the crop can survive the adverse weather and successfully grow to provide cellulose. Secondly, another beneficial characteristic of the plant is the ability reproduces in large numbers over a short of time. In regards to these aspects, the plants are preferably cultured round the firm for the production of ethanol.  The production of cellulosic ethanol is rapidly growing in the United States due to the ready availability of raw material which is an essential factor for production.  The innovation has also limited the total cost of importation of corn starch from neighboring countries. The scarcity of maize starch and high demand for this raw material makes its price appreciate to a great value. These factors combined with the total cost of production of corn ethanol makes it expensive to purchase corn ethanol, unlike cellulosic ethanol. Consumers of cellulosic ethanol are served from undertaking the extra cost of buying corn ethanol for their cars and other automobiles.  The use of cellulosic ethanol will ensure steady fuel to the residents compared to any other existing source of fuel.

Extraction of fuel from plant cellulose helps in waste management. Other than using plants leaves with a good amount of cellulose, waste materials from sugar factories as well as paper industries can properly be recycled to produce cellulosic ethanol.  The production of cellulosic fuel has adequately helped to manage the disposal of this waste in the environment. The biomass in this waste material is sufficiently recycled to release fuel which would otherwise be ignored.  The approach has helped in getting rid of environmental wastes without interfering with the well-being of nature.

The challenge of greenhouse gasses emission can adequately be addressed by the use cellulosic ethanol. The production of this type of fuel is environmental friendly since it does not release excess greenhouse gasses. The greenhouse effects have skyrocketed environmental specialist and has become a global concern. Multi-approach interventions are essential fundamental intervention to reduce the impacts. Another importance benefit of cellulosic ethanol about the greenhouse gas emission is the minimal release of toxic gasses when burnt to release energy compared to gasoline. Researchers have ascertained that cellulose has less soot and can comfortably use in the environment without polluting the atmosphere.  It is further important to mention the global effects which have resulted to various natural calamities in the world like an earthquake and persistent drought in the world. The above calamities can only be mitigated by the limited release of toxic gaseous into the environment. Many lives and immense value of the property have been lost due to greenhouse effects. People are therefore encouraged to take extra measures on the safety of their surrounding by adopting cellulosic ethanol as an important source of fuel both in Homestead and private owned companies.

There are increased risks associated with the drilling of oil or transportation of petroleum through pipe or trailers. For instance, oil spillage on water mass has interfered with the marine life. People have ingested polluted water in some areas due to oil seepage from the pipeline.  Moreover, drilling to harness oil from the well has claimed many innocent lives. It has buried some people live in the sand. The possible intervention for these risks associated with oil drilling and mining can be mitigated through extraction of petroleum from plant cellulose. The process is secured as miners do not expose their lives to such risks. Good alternative source fuel other than oil or gasoline is ethanol.  It is cheap and straightforward and less risky in the long run.

Last to mention is the reliability and the accessibility of the fuel in remote areas. The plant can best the established in the countryside where the raw material for the firm is readily available reducing the cost of transportation.  This effort helps to industrialize the rural thus bringing more development in the region.  It exposes the country to various social amenities like roads and electricity but more so creating jobs for the jobless. Regarding this, it improves the social status of the common citizens who reside around the firm. It also creates a perfect place for disposing of waste material which is possible pollutants of the environment. Having considered the above benefits of cellulosic ethanol as a primary source of fuel, the all other stakeholders should collaborate to step up the use of cellulosic ethanol in the provision of energy.

Cellulosic ethanol pros and cons

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of cellulosic ethanol production is critical. The two words pros and cons seemed to be very confusing in meaning. The pros and cons of cellulosic ethanol are a careful analysis of advantages and disadvantages of ethanol production in general. The following are among the pros and cons of cellulosic ethanol


Here, we are going to analyze the benefits of cellulosic ethanol in the provision of energy carefully. These are not limited to its production, but it comprehensively covers its use to the entire society.

Biodegradable spillage

All the biodegradable products are environmental friendly in nature. They do not pose heavy implication to the well-being of life. As a matter of facts, a spillage of cellulosic ethanol takes very few days to be degraded into less harmful substances that can be absorbed by plants and other microorganisms living in the soil. The residual effects of petroleum could last for couples of days interfering with the well-being of nature.

The facts that ethanol is made from organic materials makes it less worrisome in case there is a spill over the water mass. The effects of petroleum are highly pronounced when such an incidences occur. Aquatic life is ever in trouble when spillage occurs during the transportation process. Unless the covering layer of oil is carefully removed from the surface, massive death of aquatic life may occur.


A cellulosic ethanol


Cellulose and other nongrain materials or feedstock can undergo hydrolysis to produce cellulosic ethanol.  Any non-edible plants material with plant structural components can be subjected to produce ethanol. This biofuel made from non-edible plants components burns with equal strength just like ethanol made from corn. The non-edible plants part where the biofuel is generated is commonly referred to lignocelluloses. The scientist had discovered that much of the plants’ mass are present in lignocellulose. Cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin are among the components of lignocelluloses.  The principal advantage of producing fuel from non-edible plant parts is that the raw is readily available and insufficiently adequate amount. It is in contrary to the production of fuel from good plant components like corns and sugar cane. The harnessing of cellulose is very cheap and easy as it is available in any naturally growing plants. It does not require many agricultural inputs to get cellulose contrary to corn which may either require fertilizer for better production or irrigation for better results (Pauly).

The United States are today turning away from using corn biofuels to cellulosic ethanol simply because it is cheap and readily available. They finally realized the substantial expenses that they incurred in importing corn or sugar cane from other countries for processing. Today Switchgrass and Miscanthus are an essential source of biomass. The two plants are in the center of focus since they have significantly high productivity per acreage piece of land. Another research also supported the use of cellulosic ethanol as a source of fuel due to its unique properties of reducing greenhouse gas emission contrary to reformulated gasoline. Despite having numerous advantages over gasoline, many challenges are facing the adoption of cellulosic ethanol as a key alternative source of energy. Much more efforts are being implemented both in the energy security and environmental goals to fit the use of cellulosic ethanol.

History of Cellulosic Ethanol as a source of biofuel

The innovation of idea that cellulose can be a potential source of energy could be dated way back in the late 1800s. The first trial was made by digesting plants cellulose with sulfuric acid to yield sugar. The whole process was catalyzed through the application of heat to the chamber. This process was referred to as hydrolysis. The process breaks down extensive structural components of cellulose into smaller structures known as simple sugars. Another biological process is then repeated onto the byproducts to yield ethanol which is finally used as a biofuel. The process that converts the byproducts of hydrolysis into ethanol and water is referred to as fermentation.  Records show that the first country to commercialize ethanol was Germany in late 1800s. Germany was later joined in their monopolistic market by the United States, which founded Cellulosic ethanol production plant in South Carolina in the early 1900s. The United States made other prompt steps to establish their second plant in Louisiana, but the two plants could not survive beyond the outbreak of World War I due to several economic reasons.

The application of dilute acid to hydrolyze the plant fiber was seen to be very expensive leading to the closure of some companies barely two after it operation. It, therefore, prompts more research for a better replacement of acid hydrolysis. Enzymatic hydrolysis comes as the best replacement for acid hydrolysis (Li, Zheng, Wang & Zhang). The entire ethanol production process usually gets initiated by chemical pretreatment of the feedstock to separate sugars so that it can be finally be converted simple sugars. The immediate need to reduce the recalcitrance of cellulose for faster enzymatic hydrolysis of wood lignin, there was a need to shift from conventional acid hydrolysis to a more modernized form of timber treatment using sulfite. The treatment further helped to reduce the transit time for the raw material to be converted into biofuel.

The announcement made by former U. S President George W. Bush to increase the consumption of biofuel in the country further improved the need to increase production of cellulosic ethanol. It is because the projected amount to sustain people from 2007 to 2017 was around 35 billion US gallons yet the current production from corn starch was barely meeting half of this projection. Efforts to improve the production of biofuel shifted from corn starch to plants cellulose which was readily available in the region (Olcay). The government proved their commitment by pumping over $385 million grants to contracted companies that were ready to assist in the production of cellulosic ethanol from nontraditional sources including citrus peels.

The chemical structure of cellulosic ethanol is similar to that of first generation bioethanol despite the facts that it is produced from agricultural residues. Almost all first generation bioethanol are usually derived from starch produced from food crops like wheat and other food foods (Han et al.). The sustainability of the raw material required for the production of cellulosic ethanol is quite impressing to sustain many more firms in the area. The environmental conservatives are encouraging most industries to adopt the use of biofuel since it is friendly to nature and reduce the escalated level of toxic emission into the atmosphere. Textile industries are encouraged to design new automobiles which can freely use the biofuel in propelling their engines.