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Sorghum-Derived Ethanol Cuts Down Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50%

Sorghum_bicolor_6442162961The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently added ethanol made from grain sorghum to the group of advanced biofuel.

This news was particularly welcomed by companies in Kansas. The Western Plains Energy plant near Oakley is already developing strategies for making their ethanol become ‘advance biofuel’. The company invested in a methane digester utilizing waste.

For the construction of the biogas anaerobic digester, the company was granted $5 million by the US Department of Agriculture in April this year. According to the USDA, the output of the structure could replace up to 90% of the currently used fossil fuels by the company,

By 2022, the US renewable fuel standard urges for increase in the use of renewable fuel. The target of 36 billion gallons can only be reached by using advanced biofuels.

Currently the production of ethanol comes from corn, however sorghum has much less requirements for growing and therefore it would be a lot more valuable as an advanced biofuel

According to EPA there are four types of biofuels- conventional renewable fuel, advanced biofuels, biomass-based biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels. These are listed in an ascending order of the amount of greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Ethanol produced from sorghum could be either renewable fuel, or advanced biofuel, depending on the process of its production. If sorghum is grain and ethanol is produced at dry mill facilities using specified forms of biogas, then it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions with up to 50%, making it an advanced biofuel.

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About the author

Mila is a researcher and scientist with a great passion for soils, rocks, plants, water and all environment-related aspects of our surroundings. For the past 10 years, during the course of her educational and professional development, she travelled all over Europe, Africa and Asia, driven by her passion for the environment and urge to seek challenges.

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