GlobalData: BioEthanol Car Fuel of Future

Joanna Schroeder

According to a new report by @GlobalDataEnergy, #bioethanol is the car fuel of the future. The report, “#Cellulosic Ethanol – Global Production, Major Trends, Regulations, and Key Country Analysis to 2020,” finds that #ethanol is the most widely acclaimed alternative or additive for gasoline used for running vehicles. In addition, the U.S. ranked number one in biofuel production using natural waste feedstocks. According to the latest report, the U.S. is the global leader in cellulosic ethanol production, manufacturing 5.42 million gallons in 2012.

bioethanolBioethanol is produced through the fermentation of cellulosic feedstock such as forest and agricultural waste. The reports finds that the U.S. has an abundance of biomass feedstock, and dedicated energy crops such as #switchgrass and #miscanthus that are grown exclusively for conversion into cellulosic ethanol to help the nation’s ambition to meet fuel needs while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The U.S. is the only country currently working to promote the cellulosic ethanol market, says the report, with the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) providing grants to help companies establish a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. As a result, several companies have set up pilot and demonstration plants and a few commercial plants are expected to be commissioned in late 2013. The report also finds that the U.S. have also mandated the addition of 10% ethanol in gasoline fuel, setting steady domestic demand for the industry, while certain recently released cars are able to run on a 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline mix.

The report finds corn stover and wheat straw are among the most freely available types of feedstock used in countries producing cellulosic ethanol, and growing ethanol demand may see these nations utilizing the residue of their corn crop for ethanol production, creating a sizable market for agricultural waste. GlobalData expects that the growing feedstock demand will create a structured market, in which biomass feedstock prices will be set based on their ethanol yield and the prevailing trading price of ethanol.

Some EU countries such as France and Italy have cellulosic ethanol production infrastructure, but a limited supply of biomass feedstock. Growth of commercial production in these countries may fuel the need to import feedstock from nearby countries or expand production to other countries with ample feedstock availability. A few producers with upcoming commercial scale plants in the U.S. have already started signing agreements to procure agricultural residue and other kinds of cellulosic feedstock.

Global cellulosic ethanol is expected to increase from 14.25m gallons in 2012 to 412.25m gallons in 2020, with commercial production anticipated to take off on a large scale in late 2013 and 2014, thanks to major players adding substantial production capacity and new companies joining the market. The report finds that the U.S. is expected to retain its market dominance until 2020.

biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, feedstocks