BioTenn - A Partnership for Homegrown Energy


Ethanol E-85

Pure ethanol is a renewable fuel that is produced by fermenting and distilling simple sugars from organic materials. The majority of ethanol is currently produced from agricultural feedstocks that are high in starch, such as corn, sugar cane, wheat, sugar beets, and barley.

Ethanol can be blended with petroleum gasoline in blends up to 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent unleaded gasoline. E10 blends are approved for use in gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs.

Ethanol may also be blended in a much higher blend (E85) for use in flexible fuel vehicles. E85 is a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline. Flexible fuel vehicles are especially designed to handle the increased alcohol content of E85.

Some of the benefits of ethanol include

  • It's better for the environment. Ethanol helps reduce emissions of harmful exhaust pollutants from gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • It's a high-octane, renewable fuel.
  • It helps improve national security by reducing U.S. dependence on petroleum
  • It's produced domestically. Ethanol production stimulates local economies and promotes local agriculture, and puts money back into the U.S. economy.

Although the most common source of ethanol in Tennessee is from corn, ethanol can also be produced from cellulosic biomass. Some promising sources of cellulosic ethanol are switchgrass, wood products and biomass waste. Tennessee has the potential to be a national leader in cellulosic ethanol production. Cellulosic ethanol from biomass is currently more expensive to produce than ethanol from corn. More research and development are being conducted in the areas of transportation and production techniques to reduce the price of cellulosic. Overcoming these expenses is exactly what Governor Bredesen intends for Tennessee to accomplish. The Governor has allocated $69.6 million for the research and promotion of ethanol derived from biomass, primarily ethanol produced from switchgrass.

Ethanol presents the agricultural community of Tennessee with a great opportunity and high expectations for the future.

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