On January 31st 2006, President Bush in his State of the Union Address
stated: "We'll also fund additional research for cutting-edge methods
of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks
or switchgrass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical
and competitive within six years."
Cellulose is a compound found in all plants. If it is broken down, it
can be used in fermentation processes to produce ethanol.
Iogen Corp. built and operates the world's only demonstration scale
facility to convert biomass to cellulose ethanol using enzymatic hydrolysis
technology. This facility is located in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Iogen
is currently assessing potential locations for the world's first commercial
prototype cellulose ethanol plant.
According to the U.S. Energy Department, combustion of cellulosic ethanol
produces less green house gases compared to both sugar-based ethanol and
gasoline. Combustion of ethanol made from sugar reduces green house gas
emissions by 18 percent to 29 percent compared to gasoline but cellulose
ethanol reduces greenhouse gases emissions by up to 85 percent.
On July 7th 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a new
research agenda for the development of cellulosic ethanol as an alternative
to gasoline. The 200-page scientific "roadmap" cites recent
advances in biotechnology that have made cost-effective production of
ethanol from cellulose an attainable goal. The report outlines a detailed
research plan for developing new technologies to transform cellulosic
ethanol -- a renewable, cleaner-burning and carbon-neutral alternative
to gasoline -- into an economically viable transportation fuel. The full
report and other facts can be found here.