Bioethanol Feedstocks
Biomass is material that comes from plants. Plants use the light energy from the sun to convert water and carbon dioxide to sugars that can be stored, through a process called photosynthesis. Organic waste is also considered to be biomass, because it began as plant matter. Researchers are studying how the sugars in the biomass can be converted to more usable forms of energy like electricity and fuels.

Some plants, like sugar cane and sugar beets, store the energy as simple sugars. These are mostly used for food. Other plants store the energy as more complex sugars, called starches. These plants include grains like corn and are also used for food.

Another type of plant matter, called cellulosic biomass, is made up of very complex sugar polymers, and is not generally used as a food source. This type of biomass is under consideration as a feedstock for bioethanol production. Specific feedstocks under consideration include:

The main components of these types of biomass are: