New Method Makes Ethanol From Wheat
August 10, 2007
United Kingdom - In a finding that could help put wheat alongside corn on the menu of biofuel sources, researchers from The University of Manchester in the UK and Greece report development of a new method for producing ethanol from wheat. The technology - potentially cheaper and more efficient than conventional methods for producing wheat-based biofuel. - is scheduled for the August 3 issue of American Chemical Society Biotechnology Progress, a bi-monthly journal.
As oil prices soar, demand for bioethanol to stretch out supplies of gasoline has increased dramatically, along with frenzied research efforts to find the best raw materials for its economical production. While most bioethanol in the United States is made from corn, wheat “could be regarded as the preferred cereal grain for bioethanol production” in Europe, where the grain is more widely grown, the article states. But conventional methods for producing bioethanol from wheat are complex and inefficient.
In the new study, Apostolis Koutinas and colleagues describe a simplified biorefining method that uses fewer steps and less energy and generates fewer waste products. Depending on the selected combination of physical and biological treatment, this process also yields various fractions enriched in bran, wheat germ and proteins that could be sold or utilized for the extraction or production of value-added products, boosting income of biorefineries, the scientists say. “This process could substitute for the conventional wheat dry milling process that is currently employed in industry.”