Production of Sustainable Butanol Biofuel from Corn Stover; Land for food or fuel: the struggle over biofuel policies

Thielen, Jason, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Anderson, Eric, EN-Chem Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

How can biofuels best serve energy transitions goals globally? The demands for food and fuel have come into competition in the last twenty years. This controversy has been highly divisive.
Non-food biomass sources may serve as second-generation biofuel feedstocks that do no compete with food supplies. Biofuels may be synthesized from biomass using fermentation. Biofuel production currently focuses on ethanol. Butanol production would offer a superior material for use as a biofuel. A fermentation process creating biobutanol from corn stover is a possible process.
The food and fuel industries both demand agricultural products as inputs. Defenders of biofuels characterize them as necessary alternatives to unsustainable fossil fuels. Their critics, however, condemn biofuels as the products of carbon-intensive synthesis processes that are themselves unsustainable and that also imperil the fragile food supplies that vulnerable populations depend upon.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Butanol, Corn, Biofuel, Food versus fuel

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Eric Anderson

STS Advisor: Peter Norton

Technical Team Members: Kevin London, Olivia Wilkinson, Isabella Powell, Rachel Rosner

Issued Date: