Cassava as ethanol feedstock
Thailand already had a large cassava industry in the 1990s, for use as cattle feed and as a cheap admixture to wheat flour. Nigeria and Ghana are already establishing cassava-to-ethanol plants. Production of ethanol from cassava is currently economically feasible when crude oil prices are above US$120 per barrel.
New varieties of cassava are being developed, so the future situation remains uncertain. Currently, cassava can yield between 25-40 tonnes per hectare (with irrigation and fertilizer), and from a tonne of cassava roots, circa 200 liters of ethanol can be produced (assuming cassava with 22% starch content). A liter of ethanol contains circa 21.46 MJ of energy. The overall energy efficiency of cassava-root to ethanol conversion is circa 32%.
The yeast used for processing cassava is Endomycopsis fibuligera, sometimes used together with bacterium Zymomonas mobilis.