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Fermentation (ethylene)


Technology Description

Ethylene (C2H4) can be produced from bio-ethanol (C2H6O) via dehydration processes. The bio-ethanol could be produced from sugary biomass (e.g. sugarcane) by fermentation or from starchy biomass (e.g. corn) by hydrolysis followed by fermentation (first generation biofuel production technologies).

Relevance for Net Zero

This production route would avoid the direct use of fossil fuels in ethylene production from the widely established fossil-feedstock based steam crackers. It is already used commercially today, and makes use of lower cost biomass that is less thermally intensive to process compared to biomass that would be required to produce other chemicals like ammonia and methanol. However, this technology may face difficulty in competing with alternatives, given limited availability of sustainable biomass and competition with other end uses.

Key Countries

Brazil, India

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