Sugarcane Biofuels Production in China

  • Yun-Hai LuEmail author
  • Yan-Qing Yang


Biofuels are considered a promising solution to the energy shortage and the environmental issues caused by the rapid economic and industrial developments in China. With the continuous support of the government, biofuel production in the country has rapidly progressed in recent years and reached a level of 2.85 million tons of fuel ethanol and 1.11 million tons of biodiesel by 2017. However, this production level is far behind the internal demand due to the rapid increase of automobiles. Sugarcane is an economically important crop in southern China and is mainly cultivated in the province of Guangxi (~62%), Yunnan (~18%), Guangdong (~10%), and Hainan (~2%), with a total planting area estimated to be between 1.5 and 1.8 million hectares. Although sugarcane is considered a promising nonfood energy crop in China, it is mainly being used for sugar production to meet the huge sugar demands of the nation. Ethanol yielded from sugarcane molasses is majorly used for beverages instead. Sugarcane bagasse, on the other hand, finds applications as a source of electricity in many Chinese sugar mills; however, this bagasse-based electricity is generally reused for internal uses of mills. China is already producing fuel ethanol from cellulosic biomass sources such as sweet sorghum, corncob, and straw at industrial scale, but the production of fuel ethanol from sugarcane bagasse is still under development stages, and its industrial production is mainly limited by cost and challenges of efficiency of the pretreatment methods. With continuous increase in demand for renewable energy, along with the modernization of sugarcane production, advancements of breeding and processing technology, reduction of production cost, and favorable economic and governmental policy factors, we can expect that sugarcane will make a significant contribution to the biofuels production in southern China.


Sugarcane Biofuels Ethanol China Molasses Bagasse 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Genetics, Breeding and Multiple Utilization of Crops, College of Crop ScienceFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityJinshan, FuzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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