EGEE 439
Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

Lesson 5: General Ethanol Production

Lesson 5: General Ethanol Production


This lesson will cover how ethanol is produced, from both starch and cellulose. In order to understand ethanol production, we will first learn about enzymes and their role in breaking down cellulose and starch into glucose so that fermentation can take place. The enzymes are the first stage, but there are several stages to producing ethanol. Most of you will not have any biochemistry background, so that’s where we’ll start. We will also cover a little about enzymes for hemicellulose and lignin degradation.

Before covering the technical aspects of the lesson, we will begin Lesson 6 with expectations for your final project.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • explain the requirements for the final report;
  • recall the biochemistry of starch and lignocellulosic biomass, as well as go into greater depth on each of these components;
  • discuss the basic biochemistry of enzymes;
  • evaluate how the enzymes work and on certain biomass parts particular enzymes are used and products that are made.

Lesson 5 Road Map

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Course Syllabus for specific time frames and assignment due dates.


If there is anything in the lesson materials that you would like to comment on or don't quite understand, please post your thoughts and/or questions to our Throughout the Course Questions and Comments discussion forum. The discussion forum will be checked regularly. While you are there, feel free to post responses to your classmates if you are able to help. Regular office hours will be held to provide help for EGEE 439 students.