Availability of Corn Stover as a Sustainable Feedstock for Bioethanol Production

Kiran L. Kadam, James D. McMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus Citations


The amount of corn stover that can be sustainably collected is estimated to be 80-100 million dry tonnes/yr (t/yr), a majority of which would be available to ethanol plants in the near term as only a small portion is currently used for other applications. Potential long-term demand for corn stover by non-fermentative applications in the United States is estimated to be about 20 million dry t/yr, assuming that corn stover-based products replace 50% of both hardwood pulp and wood-based particleboard, and that 50% of all furfural production is from corncobs. Hence, 60-80 million dry t/yr of corn stover should be available to fermentative routes. To achieve an ethanol production potential of 11 billion L (3 billion gal) per year (a target level for a non-niche feedstock), about 40% of the harvestable corn stover is needed. This amount should be available as long as the diversion of corn stover to non-ethanol fermentative products remains limited.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-34434


  • Corn stover
  • Ethanol
  • Fiberboard
  • Furfural
  • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
  • Particleboard
  • Pulp and paper
  • Strawboard


Dive into the research topics of 'Availability of Corn Stover as a Sustainable Feedstock for Bioethanol Production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this