Small-Scale Fuel Alcohol Production to Meet University Vehicle Fuel Needs and Promote Regional Sustainable Development

EPA Grant Number: SU833537
Title: Small-Scale Fuel Alcohol Production to Meet University Vehicle Fuel Needs and Promote Regional Sustainable Development
Investigators: Steward, Brian , Brumm, Thomas J. , Hermsdorff, W. , Oliveira, Delly , Sousa e Silva, J. de
Current Investigators: Steward, Brian , Altoe, Leandra , Birrell, Stuart , Brumm, Thomas J. , Haegele, Jason , Hermsdorff, W. , Martinez, Marisol , Oliveira, Delly , Sousa e Silva, J. de , Swanson, Eric , Swanson, Stephanie , Vieira, Alberto , Visser, Evan , de Andrade, Marcel Antonionni
Institution: Iowa State University , Federal University of Vicosa
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2007 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $13,536
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The overall goal of this project is to develop small-scale, distributed ethanol production systems in the context of closed-loop, diversified agricultural production systems. This project will be applied to the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) as an approach to achieve energy independence and sustainable development in the region. Significant technical innovation is required to develop small scale, low-input and reliable systems for bioenergy conversion.


From a systems analysis of the UFV energy system, small-scale distributed ethanol production emerged as a sustainable and attainable approach to providing a renewable and sustainable source of transportation fuel for the UFV fleet of vehicles. In particular, the students implementing this project will (1) design and build low-cost, small scale fermentation and distillation systems and (2) use systems level economic and life-cycle models to analyze the effects of such technologies on regional sustainability factors such as land use, producer income, and carbon emissions. This project benefits people since local farmers, the majority of which are small, low-income agricultural producers, must be engaged as suppliers of ethanol. Prosperity is addressed because a local, renewable source of fuel benefits both the local community and the university through creation of jobs and reallocation of resources. Displacement of petroleum based sources of transportation fuel benefits the planet through reduction of CO2 emissions. The technology developed through this project will be demonstrated at both UFV and Iowa State University and be integrated into sustainable engineering and biorenewables course modules. The technology developed through the project is expected to promote regional development through job creation and increased utilization of locally produced agricultural commodities. Project evaluation will be based on the adoption of the technology developed.

Supplemental Keywords:

sugarcane, sweet sorghum, biorenewables, bioenergy; engineering; agriculture; energy independency; alcohol; ethanol; Brazil,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, sustainable development, environmental sustainability, alternative materials, biomass, alternative fuel, biodiesel fuel, energy efficiency, energy technology, alternative energy source

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report