What is BioEthanol?

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We have all heard a lot in the past couple of years about Bio-Ethanol and how it has become a viable alternative to gas, electric or solid fuel fires, but where does it come from? What Is It? We take a look at Bio-Ethanol and where it comes from.

Bioethanol has a number of advantages over conventional fuels. It comes from a renewable resource i.e. crops and not from a resource that will eventually run out such as oil and gas and the crops it derives from can grow well in the UK (like cereals, sugar beet and maize). Another benefit over fossil fuels is the greenhouse gas emissions.

By encouraging bioethanol’s use, the rural economy would also receive a boost from growing the necessary crops. Bioethanol is also biodegradable and far less toxic than fossil fuels.

Bioethanol fuel is mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process, although it can also be manufactured by the chemical process of reacting ethylene with steam.

The main sources of sugar required to produce ethanol come from fuel or energy crops. These crops are grown specifically for energy use and include corn, maize and wheat crops, waste straw, willow and popular trees, sawdust, reed canary grass, cord grasses, jerusalem artichoke, myscanthus and sorghum plants. There is also ongoing research and development into the use of solid wastes to produce ethanol fuel.

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol, to use its full name, is a clear colourless liquid, it is biodegradable, low in toxicity and causes little environmental pollution if spilt. Ethanol burns to produce carbon dioxide and water, making it ideal for houses without a chimney, but want that living flame.

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