New technology for producing ethanol will put a scare into gasoline producers. But first a little background on ethanol:
Last month, for the first time in history, the cars racing in the Indianapolis 500 were fueled by pure ethanol. This should put to rest any concerns about ethanol lacking sufficient energy density to function as a motor fuel.
While the absolute amount of energy contained in ethanol is somewhat lower than gasoline – about 76,000 BTUs per gallon for ethanol compared to about 116,000 BTUs per gallon of gasoline – ethanol has higher octane, generally speaking 110 or more vs. 90 or less, allowing ethanol to run in higher compression, higher efficiency engines. A car optimized to run on ethanol can get comparable mileage to a car optimized to run on gasoline.
The key to the production of ethanol is designer microbes. In the first step feedstock is converted into syngas.
The second step is to feed the syngas into a bioreactor, where microbes eat the syngas and excrete ethanol. These microbes are anerobic, meaning they can’t survive in atmosphere, and they are the result of careful selective breeding whereby they are now 100 times more efficient converting syngas into ethanol than they were when they began the process a few years ago. "We know our microbes can convert syngas to ethanol at commercial quantities, cost effectively," said Roe. Source:http://www.ecoworld.com/home/articles2.cfm?tid=462
The news that Coskata has a demonstration plant under construction and ambitious plans to expand rapidly will signal the end of gasoline monopoly. For the whole Coskata story read here: http://www.ethanolproducer.com/article.jsp?article_id=4268&q=&page=3