March 18, 2020
Journal Article

Ethanol as a renewable building block for fuels and chemicals


Three factors, i) the ethanol “blend wall”, which limits its market as a transportation fuel, ii) advances in production efficiency, and iii) feedstock diversification, could lead to excess ethanol at competitive prices. Those factors have already motivated a search for value-added derivatives (e.g., distillate fuels, olefins, and asymmetric amines). Siting small, low cost, flexible conversion facilities to process ethanol at or near the fermentation plant could encourage the growth of an enterprise. Decreasing the barriers to entry, matching supply and demand, and enhancing access to production incentives are enabling success factors. This review discusses the process chemistries that might be employed by such ethanol conversion facilities based on market prices. Then, how these technologies might benefit from process intensification, and without the requirement of complex processing or large pressures or temperature gradients typically employed in conventional, large scale facilities.

Revised: May 1, 2020 | Published: March 18, 2020


Dagle R.A., A.D. Winkelman, K. Kallupalayam Ramasamy, V. Dagle, and R.S. Weber. 2020. Ethanol as a renewable building block for fuels and chemicals. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 59, no. 11:4843-4853. PNNL-SA-148314. doi:10.1021/acs.iecr.9b05729