Baker's Yeast And Blue Jeans = Ethanol


Treehuggers have heard a lot about ethanol, most of it a mixed bag. Ethanol's downsides are just starting to trickle into the Swedish mainstream, where the ethanol E85 fuel blend is so popular - 2 out of 3 newly-purchased eco-cars here run on the stuff. The Scania buses for the Stockholm Nobel prize events were ethanol-run (Scania claims they cut 90% of CO2 compared to a diesel bus). We even have our own guru, nicknamed "Ethanol Jesus" - Per Carstedt, chief at SEKAB, one of Europe's biggest ethanol producers.
Carstedt knows that wheat, corn and sugar cane ethanol can't pass the sniff test, but he's part of the line of Swedes that call for a multi-alternative fuel future in which all those newfangled fuels - DME, biodiesel, and cellulosic ethanol are part of the mix to replace gas. SEKAB has a new pilot fabric in Sweden experimenting with cellulosic ethanol from wood chips, though it's not ready for mass production, and some say it won't be for another 5-7 years. Carstedt can't wait to sell the plant technology internationally. Yet wood chips are a finite resource (prices are already climbing as demand for biomass for central heating here increases) as are the blue jeans and other textile waste the BorĂ¥s Avfallsstation recently began using to make ethanol in a pilot project. Each pair of jeans is broken down with baker's yeast to a fibrous mass capable of making about enough ethanol to drive your car 3 - 5 kilometers. Hopefully we'll only need a tiny bit of that cellulosic ethanol for hybrid-electric cars to sip on in between charges at the wind-and-hydro driven electricity system. Via ::SR (Swedish Radio), ::Expressen (Swedish)

Related Content on