A major focus today is the use of non-food feedstocks, known as lignocellulosic biomass, for the production of industrial sugars and fuel ethanol. Sources of this include corn stalks, saw mill discards and energy crops. These feedstocks are abundant but require advanced biochemical processes to release their sugars, which can then be converted to fuel or biochemicals.
Explore the interactive map below to uncover the landscape of renewable biomass sources around the world—from their unique composition to the market forces shaping demand for next generation biofuels.
Municipal Solid Waste, or MSW, holds massive potential as a biofuel feedstock for companies that can master conversion technology.
MSW handling logistics are well established in almost every urban municipality on the planet.
The processes for recovering and handling biomass-based MSW are commonplace around the globe.
Examples: poplar, willow, eucalyptus, pines
Capable of purifying heavy water and soil pollution.
Designated energy wood has short travel distances to processing facilities.
Production requires minimal labor and economic input.
Rice straw conversion to cellulosic ethanol is still in the early stages of research and development.
However, because of a high straw yield per acre and low lignin content, rice straw has high potential.
Wheat production and logistics are well established across the globe. Because there is no need for new harvesting equipment or practices, wheat straw can become a reliable commercial feedstock for biorefining almost immediately.
Wheat yields 85-100 lbs. of residue per bushel.
Straw is one of the simplest and highest-yielding cellulosic ethanol sources.
Corn is the most produced crop in the United States, which is the most productive agricultural economy in the world. Production and logistics are well established and the development of seed technologies that increase biomass yield in corn stover is well underway.
Provides the possibility of squeezing two ethanol crops out of one corn harvest.
Close proximity to currently existing ethanol production facilities.
Sugarcane production and logistics are well established across the globe. Because there is no need for new harvesting equipment or practices, bagasse can become a reliable commercial feedstock for biorefining almost immediately.
Sugarcane products could satisfy 20% of world energy demand.
Sugarcane grows in many developing countries and could help alleviate poverty.
Recovers marginal farmlands, consumes little water, prevents erosion and binds carbon in root system.
Can be irrigated with otherwise non-usable waste water.
Seed and genetic enhancement industries are already established and creating switchgrass energy breeds.
DuPont is constructing a production-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in Iowa, USA. The source of biomass will be corn stover (non-edible stalks and leaves), and the biorefinery will use Accellerase® enzymes.
Enzymes are proteins found in all living things that help to catalyze - or speed up - biochemical reactions. Enzyme technology like Accellerase® helps to release the C5 and C6 sugars present in ligno-cellulosic biomass such as switchgrass or sugarcane bagasse. Learn more.