Rising oil prices and uncertainty over the security of existing fossil fuel reserves, combined with concerns over global climate change, have created the need for new transportation fuels and bioproducts to substitute for fossil carbon-based materials.
Ethanol is considered to be the next generation transportation fuel with the most potential, and significant quantities of ethanol are currently being produced from corn and sugar cane via a fermentation process. Utilizing lignocellulosic biomass as a feedstock is seen as the next step towards significantly expanding ethanol production. The most widely investigated of these sources thus far have been corn stover or crops grown specifically as energy crops, such as switchgrass and poplars. However, another viable feedstock could be aquatic plants obtained from constructed wetlands, such as cattails. The biological conversion of cellulosic biomass into bioethanol is based on the breakdown of biomass into aqueous sugars using chemical and biological means, including the use of hydrolotic enzymes.
Last date updated on July, 2014