The most effective Bio-ethanol

Biomass use for transport is more efficient form of ethanol or converted into electricity? It's a question that U.S. researchers provide an initial response in the journal Science this month. 

The team of Professor Elliott Campbell, University of California, studied the results of two types of plants used for biomass energy production: maize, and erected panic (Panicum virgatum, more commonly known as switchgrass). The latter, very common in North America, is particularly advantageous in terms of performance and in terms of resistance to diseases and pests. 

For the same acreage, the researchers noted the distance traveled by different types of vehicles: small, medium and large, within city or the highway. 

"We found that the conversion of biomass into electricity rather than ethanol is the most relevant to these two problems, transport and climate," says Professor Campbell. 

According to the study, biomass converted into electricity would go away 81% more than ethanol. It would also avoid the emission of 25 tonnes of greenhouse gases per hectare, compared to a gasoline vehicle of similar size. In terms of emissions, ethanol results are two times smaller. 

For Campbell, it seems clear that the electric motors are more efficient than internal combustion engines. "Even the best technologies for production of ethanol, coupled with hybrid engines, will not be sufficient to overcome that." He says. 

The authors stress, however, that important aspects have not yet been explored, such as water consumption, air pollution, recycling batteries or economic aspects.

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