Did you know that biofuel has two distinct types? There’s ethanol from crops such as corn or sugar cane, and there’s biodiesel from crops such as rapeseed and jatropha and oil palms. Some plants, like corn, can be processed for ethanol and biodiesel at the same time.
There is an excellent source of information about biofuel called Journey to Forever, and one of the publishers, Keith Addison, provided the following information:
“Ethanol is not derived from corn oil or any oil, it’s derived from carbohydrates – starch or sugar – or from cellulose, but not from oil. Nor can biodiesel be produced from sugar or starch, only from
triglycerides – vegetable or animal fats and oils.
Ethanol and biodiesel are indeed both biofuels but they are totally different products produced from different feedstocks by different processes and by different interests for different applications, biodiesel for diesel motors only, and ethanol for spark-ignition (gasoline) motors. Few if any refineries produce both biodiesel and fuel ethanol. There is little or no relationship between the two industries in the US.”
Isn’t that amazing? In the EcoWorld story “Biodiesel, Alternative Fuel That’s Already Here,” there is a chart that shows biodiesel yields per square mile in barrel of oil equivalents. We’ll have to develop a similar chart for Ethanol crops…