Liquid Fuel: Ethanol

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Ethanol can be produced from many feedstocks, but sugarcane remains king. Brazil provides the world’s leading example of ethanol from sugarcane. In 2012 about 85 billion liters were produced worldwide (approximately 536 M bbl, or million barrels oil equivalent), of which about 45 percent were from sugarcane. Fermentable sugars represent 6 to 16 percent of the sugarcane weight, making it the best feedstock for ethanol. Consequently, many sugarcane-producing countries in addition to Brazil are considering the ethanol option, primarily as a blend with gasoline in different proportions. These include China, Colombia, Central America, India (where cane is also used as feedstock in the chemical industry), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand.