Purdue Research Could Improve Ethanol Production

Researchers at Purdue have found that when cornstalks are processed to produce ethanol, their particles undergo a change that has not been seen previously. This could pave the way for a viable method of large-scale ethanol production from cellulose. Cellulosic ethanol is better than other current ethanol production processes, because it puts less pressure on food prices. Michael Ladisch, co-author of the research, said, "Cellulosic ethanol would allow industry to expand beyond the limits brought about by corn's other uses, like sweetener production." Previously, cellulosic ethanol has been rather hard to produce, but this research should allow a more economical method to be developed. "This study will help us translate science from the lab to an industrial setting and will help produce cellulosic ethanol economically," Ladisch said. The image shows a cornstalk after the pretreatment developed by the team. The pores on the surface have been opened up, allowing more surface area for the ethanol production process to occur. :: Purdue University