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14 July 2010

How to Convert Wastepaper Into Ethanol

By an eHow Contributing Writer

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Ethanol may one day provide a practical alternative to gasoline. There are many sources for this fuel, including one that doesn't receive much publicity. Conversion into ethanol can take the "waste" out of wastepaper.


Step 1
Add non-grain plant sources, such as scraps of wastepaper (which originate from wood pulp) to remnants of feedstock, grass clippings and weeds. Convert the resulting biomass mixture into cellulosic ethanol. Add the paper to equal amounts of organic materials. You will yield an approximate rate of 340 liters to a ton of the added fiber.

Step 2
Use a wide variety of normally thrown away products such as leftover brewer's, paper towels and other scrap paper to make biofuel alternatives to gasoline. Such is the hopes of Zymetis, an incubator company in Maryland.

Step 3
Generate steam, which results in electricity, with the cooking and alcohol production of this product in a still-like process. Of course, scientists have not revealed the exact "recipe" for cellulosic ethanol.

Step 4
Break down trash products into sugars and eventually alcohol. Use an enzyme, such as Saccharophagus degradans, found by the University of Maryland. This enzyme has been reproduced in labs and used by Zymetis to accomplish this task. At this time, the enzymes are still in the trial stages.

Tips & Warnings

  • The University of Maryland found the newest enzyme in the search for new fuel production (Saccharophagus degradans) in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Using ethanol is different from using normal gasoline in your vehicle. The gas mileage will not be as much because there is 1/3 less energy per gallon.

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