Applied Energy 86 (2009) S162–S169
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Ethanol production in (the) People’s Republic of China: Potential and technologies
Shi-Zhong Li a, Catherine Chan-Halbrendt b,*
Institute of New Energy Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, (the) People0 s Republic of ChinaNatural Resource and Environmental Management, University of Hawaii, 1910 East-West Road, Sherman 224, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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Rising oil demand in (the) People’s Republic of China has resulted in surging oil imports and mounting environmental pollution. It is projected that by 2030 the demand for fossil fuel oil will be 250 million tons. Ethanol seemsto be an attractive renewable alternative to fossil fuel. This study assesses (the) PRC’s ethanol supply potential by examining potential non-food crops as feedstock; emerging conversion technologies; and cost competitiveness. Results of this study show that sweet sorghum among all the nonfood feedstocks has the greatest potential. It grows well on the available marginal lands and the AdvancedSolid State Fermentation (ASSF) technology when commercialized will shorten the fermentation time which will lower the costs. Other emerging technologies such as improved sacchariﬁcation and fermentation; and cellulosic technologies will make (the) PRC more competitive in ethanol production in the future. Based on the estimated available marginal lands for energy crop production and conversionyields of the potential feedstocks, the most likely and optimistic production levels are 19 and 50 million tons of ethanol by 2020. In order to achieve those levels, the roadmap for (the) PRC is to: select the nonfood feedstock most suitable to grow on the available marginal land; provide funding to support the high priority conversion technologies identiﬁed by the scientists; provide monetaryincentives to new and poor farmers to grow the feedstocks to revitalize rural economy; less market regulation and gradual reduction of subsidies to producers for industry efﬁciency; and educate consumers on the impact of fossil fuel on the environment to reduce consumption. Since the share of ethanol in the overall fuel demand is small, the impact of ethanol on lowering pollution and enhancing fuelsecurity will be minimal. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article history: Received 16 January 2009 Received in revised form 25 April 2009 Accepted 30 April 2009 Available online 28 May 2009 This article is sponsored by the Asian Development Bank as part of the Supplement ‘‘Biofuels in Asia’’. Keywords: Ethanol Biofuel Conversion technologies (the) People’s Republic of China Non-foodfeedstock
1. Introduction (the) PRC, a fast rising oil consumption and importing country considers biomass energy alternative as an important part of its national energy stratagems. Currently, (the) PRC imports close to half of its oil consumption . By 2030, oil consumption is projected to double driven largely by the exponential rise in private car ownership . With oil imports surging, privatecar use soaring and urban environmental pollution mounting, establishing a biofuel industry appears to be an attractive proposition to deal with energy insecurity, pollution problem and rural development. Thus, during the Tenth Five-Year Planning (2000–2005), the government proposed the establishment of a biofuel industry in (the) PRC. As a result, the ethanol industry was established in 2000. Atthe time, there was also the intent of using the surplus grain stocks that was stockpiling to reduce the cost of storage and to use up the aged grain. However, with subsequent rising grain prices in recent years, the government was concerned that further promoting ethanol using food grains as feedstocks will contribute to persistent high
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