Best Use of Bioethanol: Fuel or Feedstock?

A man in white lab suit handling chemicals

Bioethanol is a wonderful scientific innovation. It has potential as fuel or Feedstock as well. Currently is it is being used for both purposes. But it is a wonderful debate to know that which use is better. Either we should use Bioethanol for Fuel or Feedstock.

Bioethanol as Fuel

Energy requirement was greatly fulfilled by fossil fuels, but they are going to be depleted in near future. Also, these fuels raise concerns about environmental damage. So shift towards renewable resources provide sustainable energy. Bioethanol is an alternating source of energy; its combustion is cleaner because of the presence of oxygen in it. Now ethanol is recognized as fuel for the direct ethanol fuel cells and biofuel cells. Bioethanol is a clear liquid used to substitute petrol fuel for vehicles.

The feedstock used for ethanol production could be corn, sugarcane, agrochemical wastes, algae and genetically modified biomass. Fermentation of feedstock can lead to the renewable source of energy. It has many uses like fuel for vehicles, in cosmetic products, provide the environment-friendly flame. In order to make bioethanol much cost effective it is blended with gasoline at various ratios like most cars use 10% ethanol with Bioethanol.

Advantages of Bioethanol as Fuel

Using bioethanol as a fuel has advantages that are;

  • The gases that are released by burning bioethanol undergo complete combustion and cause less environmental effects and significantly less production of greenhouse gases. Also, carbon dioxide released in the bioethanol production process is the same amount as the one the crops previously absorbed during photosynthesis.
  • It reduces the number of high-octane additives that shows its better quality.
  • The fuel spills are more easily biodegraded or diluted to non-toxic concentrations.

Bioethanol as Feedstock

Ethanol can also serve as feedstock for the synthesis of other chemicals. Ethylene is produced by ethanol dehydration in many areas of the world like the United States and in Brazil too. Production of chemicals from ethanol has renewed interests in the market. Also, environmental concerns over the use of fossil fuels and the problem of sustainability have raised interest in renewable sources both for chemical feedstock and energy. The use of new technologies to use less costly cellulosic biomass will make ethanol a competitive feedstock for chemicals production, thus provides economic benefits as well.

Examples of Bioethanol Use as Feedstock

  • Davy’s technology that will be used to produce ethyl acetate from ethanol by dehydrogenation is very economically competitive with the conventional esterification process.
  • Acetic acid is being produced from ethanol based routes.
  • Ethylene production from ethanol has the cost-competitive process.
  • Ethanol is used as a chemical intermediate for the production of glycol ethers, ethylamines and ethyl propenoate.
  • It is also used as a solvent in the manufacture of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, detergents, inks and coatings.
  •  Bioethanol act as a raw material for the production of bioethyl tertiary butyl ether.
  • Bioethanol is used to make bioethylene that is also used as the fuel alternative to fossil-based ethylene.

This debate on the best use of Bioethanol requires more research and knowledge. Only after that, we can come to a final conclusion. TIll now, it is better to use the Bioethanol for purpose as it is serving best.

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