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Business: Transportation

Ethanol

What is ethanol?
Benefits
Applications
Availability and Cost
Safety and Performance
Research
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Research

The Government of Canada and some provincial governments have supported the development and use of ethanol fuel through research and development programs. Past efforts have addressed problems related to vehicle components and the fuel distribution system.

Current research is focusing on improving the sustainability of ethanol production. Canada has become a world leader in the development of processes for converting cellulosic based feedstocks, such as agriculture and forestry waste, to ethanol.

Known as cellulosic ethanol, the fuel is manufactured from agricultural and wood waste products as well as fast-growing trees. Potential feedstocks include wheat straw, corn stover, wood residue, switchgrass and poplar. Plant co-products can be used to generate the energy that runs cellulosic ethanol-manufacturing processes.

With support from the Government of Canada, Iogen Corporation has built the world's first and only full-scale demonstration plant to convert biomass fibres to ethanol using enzyme technology. Located in Ottawa, Ontario, the plant can process over 25 tonnes of wheat straw per week, using enzymes produced in an adjacent facility. Since the early 1980s, Iogen has received $30 million in federal funding for its pre-treatment and cellulose enzyme development. The Government of Canada also provided $10 million in repayable loans for the construction of the demonstration plant in the late 1990s.