Feedstocks for bioethanol production

Corn is a common raw material for ethanol production

Renewable Sources

Plants store energy in the form of sugar or starch. Bioethanol as a fuel makes this energy available again.

Basically alcohol, bioethanol is made from sugar (glucose) which comes from sugar crops or is utilized from starch crops. Cellulose is a further possible source, yet with technical issues in large-scale conversion still to overcome, cellulose-based feedstocks are referred to as second generation (2G).

The choice of feedstock is a matter of climate, for example sugar cane is used in tropical zones, wheat is favored in Europe and corn is typical for North America.

Integrated production

Bioethanol facilities often are linked to sugar or starch factories and use the by-products and residues from that industry as substrates (in the form of molasses, starch hydrolysate a.s.o.).

As only the sugar respectively starch is needed for the process, the remaining ingredients of the raw material in turn can provide valuable co-products. The proteins, minerals, fat and fiber contained in grain make a high-quality economical animal feed known as DDGS. Some 30 % of the raw material input can be recycled to the food chain as a soya substitute in animal husbandry.

The concentrated stillage from (sugar) molasses is used also as animal food additive, as fertilizer, or it can be incinerated to generate energy for the plant.


Read about Bioethanol process

Read about 2G | Second generation

Read about Planning a bioethanol plant

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VOGELBUSCH Biocommodities GmbH
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A-1051 Vienna | Austria
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EU Grain Consumption

Diagram of EU28 split of grain consumption

Measured by the volume available in the European Union, the proportion of cereals to produce bioethanol is marginal.

Of 350 million tons of cereals (including maize) expected for the harvest 2013/2014, the usage for bioethanol production is estimated at 9.9 million tonnes, or 2.85 % only.

Source of figures: EU Cereal Market Balance Sheet Nov. 14

World Grain Consumption

On a global basis the consumption of grain for bioethanol production is stable at 6%.

Source: German Renewable Energies Agency Information Platform